• Dr Phoebe Lau

The numbers on women's mental health

Updated: Feb 27, 2019


I have a bad habit of scrolling through Instagram first thing in the morning - it’s a hard addiction to curb. Hey, I’m human too.  I get side-tracked by all the beautiful images of happy beautiful people in exotically colourful locations around the world. My eyes are rapidly scanning multiple messages with a variation on “live your best life”, “find more happiness”, and “love your life”. Just through social media we can be fooled into thinking that most people have lives that are constantly happy, fulfilling, fortunate, and adventurous.  This leaves many of us to think, “what’s wrong with me?” when our lives and smiles don’t reflect the beautiful people in these images. You’re not alone. 



It can be hard to reconcile our real lives with those on social media. Women who have sat across from me in therapy have expressed difficulty coping with and accepting some of the very challenging and vulnerable aspects of their lives, whether that’s dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, or carer responsibilities. Some directly compare their lives to what their lives “should” be as perpetuated by social media. However, our lives aren’t curated and filtered like the images we scroll through on a daily basis. There’s more psychological and emotional struggle when we expect that our lives "should be” curated into happy snap-shot moments. As much as we wished otherwise, life is full of difficult emotions and heart-breaking experiences. Life is messy.

Most women have real life challenges that can’t simply be forgotten or ignored. If you haven’t read my post on, “Why women?”, that summarises the state of women’s mental health at the moment - be ready to be surprised. The numbers suggest that most women need support to nurture and recover their mental health. It’s understandable that we need the support given that women account for almost half of the workforce (47%), and majority of us are primary carers or carers of children [1]


Strong mental health is like a muscle, the more we strengthen it, the better we cope with the things that weigh us down. It allows us to feel more in control of our circumstances, give more to others, and to pursue a life on our terms. Imagine the impact we could make within our families, workplaces, and communities if we grew our emotional wealth and supported other women to do the same? 



#women #womensrights #womensmentalhealth #mentalhealth #wellness #wellbeing #womenshealth #advocacy #feminist #innercollective #womenforwomen #melbourneclinicalpsychologist

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