I support the Liptember Foundation every year, since 2018. During the whole of September, you may see the rare Australian wearing a bold lipstick colour. This is Liptember’s “gimmick”. People ask about bold colours or fashion a lot, right? This is where Liptember wants the conversation about women’s mental health to start.
I’ve never been under the illusion mental health is universal. Like healthcare, it is generally divided by sex and gender: different services are needed for different issues. However, for a long time, this wasn’t the case with mental health — and having this problem treated with a “one size fits all” strategy is not an effective solution.
I want to share some facts with you. For my international readers, these are Australia-specific:
- 1 in 6 women will experience depression. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
- 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
- Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, women have experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress (25%) in higher proportions than men (16%) (Australian Institute of Health and Wellness)
- Depression was the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder among the LGBT populations, with 34% of homosexual/bisexual females and 50% of trans females experiencing depression in the past three years. (National Survey of the Health and Wellbeing of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Australians)
This Liptember, several Australian states are in lockdown — the impact of which cannot be measured. You may have already heard the term “mental health pandemic” flying around, and the ongoing effect of which has nearly demolished mental health services as they cope with the strain. I don’t know about you, but I personally broke under the weight of 2020 and 2021. The earliest appointment I could make for a psychologist is in 2022. Luckily, my legendary GP specializes in women’s health. I’m in good hands. Some aren’t so lucky.
“Mental health” isn’t just a general issue that can be corrected with a patch-job system. We need targeted services to help different demographics. “By placing a gender lens on mental health, research has shown to be more accurate and support programs more effective.”