Women’s History Month: Declining Mental Health, Increased Options to SupportOct 27, 2022
This month we’re recognizing Women’s History Month. And while there’s much to celebrate about how far we’ve come collectively as women, our hard-won progress is actually rolling backwards, especially when it comes to mental health.
Long before the pandemic, we knew women were paying a higher price for burnout, anxiety and depression compared to men - It’s not hard to see how we’ve gotten to where we are now with a mental health crisis looming.
In a survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in 2022, reports of moderate to severe anxiety, loneliness and feelings of depression showed a significant increase among women since the survey was last conducted in July 2021. It also showed a substantial need for mental health services, with 24 per cent of Canadians disclosing they needed mental health services to cope with the pandemic in the past 12 months but were unable to receive them, compared to 19.5 per cent last summer.
And we anticipate these stats will continue to rise.
While the outlook is grim, the silver lining is that we’ve seen significant transformations within the digital health sector. Meaning women can access the help they need in accessible and attainable ways, within their busy schedules and at a pace that works for them.
Virtual Care: Too often, women miss out on regular appointments because they can’t fit them into their busy lives or take time off work. From living in remote communities with a lack of access to in-person care, to better managing time amongst the long to-do lists of our everyday lives, virtual care makes life easier. Virtual care also allows individuals to go at their own pace and progress toward positive mental health.
Self-Guided Therapy: Studies show that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) reduces stress and is as effective as drug therapy for anxiety and mild to moderate depression. Part of the virtual care umbrella, there’s even options now to complete self-guided therapy, also known as internet-based CBT (iCBT), to reap the benefits of traditional therapy that a therapist leads.
As part of our goal to give back to communities, Green Shield is giving women access to one year of free self-guided therapy through Room For Her. Self-guided therapy allows women to continue improving their mental health on their own time, whenever and wherever works best. This includes digital CBT lessons and skill-based exercises to help individuals reduce and manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns.
Lastly, Room For Her provides women with free mental health resources based on their level of need, from online articles and webinars on stress, nutrition, anxiety, and depression.
Ultimately, we need to ensure women are aware of the new resources available to support their mental health journeys. Together, we can ensure that no woman feels alone in getting the help they need to achieve fulsome mental health.
Harriet Ekperigin is the VP of Mental Health at Green Shield. Room For Her is a Green Shield social impact initiative.
Green Shield means, collectively, Green Shield Canada (GSC), the Green Shield Association, and Green Shield Holdings Inc., which is the primary company that houses health services and benefits administration subsidiaries, including Inkblot Therapy, Benecaid and Computer Workware Inc. Green Shield Holdings Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the not-for-profit Green Shield Association.
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