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Mental health focus for Women's Health Week

04 September 2020

Mental health
St John of God Burwood Social Worker Sarah Kroon talks about Women’s Health Week, a campaign centred on improving women’s health.

It is increasingly recognised that a woman’s physical and mental health are essentially linked.

Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems.  Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of some conditions.

Facts and statistics

  • Women at all stages of life are at a greater risk than men of experiencing mental ill health and 43% of women experience mental illness at some time in their lives. 
  • Mental health disorders represent the leading cause of disability for women in Australia. 
  • More than 1 in 7 new mums experience postnatal depression and anxiet
  • Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness amongst young women in Australia
  • Women are 1.6 times as likely to suffer coexisting mental and physical illness
  • Women who experience family and intimate partner violence are more likely to report poor mental health, physical function and general health than other women

Impact of COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19, has seen women experiencing higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress.

Also, the increased time at home due to social distancing and isolation measures has placed women at higher risk of experiencing domestic violence.

This has seen a rise in women presenting to health services who have experienced family violence and there has been notable increase in women experiencing more extreme forms of violence and abuse and requiring emergency interventions.

Signs and support

Signs and symptoms of mental ill-health can vary but some examples include, feeling sad or down, inability to cope with daily problems and stress, excessive fears or worries, withdrawal from friends and activities, extreme mood changes and low energy or problems sleeping.

If you, a friend or family member are experiencing any of these signs, know that there is help available, you don’t have to continue feeling like this. The first step is to talk about how you are feeling to a friend or a health professional. 

Some other things that we can do to manage our mental health are to make social connections even if it’s by phone, get some professional support, such as talking with a GP or counsellor, getting into a routine, engaging in pleasurable activities, being kind to yourself and self-care activities. 

If you need immediate support or information you can contact the Mental Health Line on 1800 011511, the National Sexual Assault and Domestic and Family Violence Helpline on 1800 respect or Lifeline on 131114. 

Our St John of God Hospitals in NSW located at Burwood and Richmond provide multidisciplinary, person centred, holistic mental health care, along with a variety of day programs from the Counselling and Therapy Centres.  

St John of God Burwood Hospital Social Worker Sarah Kroon
Sarah Kroon - Social Worker

Sarah Kroon is a social worker at St John of God Burwood Hospital.

She has worked at the hospital for three years and supports women and families who come into the hospital’s Mother and Baby Unit after experiencing perinatal mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression and psychosis.