A Woman's Guide to Mental Health - SBH Health System
Image of woman and daughter discussing mental health

As a woman – whether a daughter, sister, mother, wife, or grandparent – you need to stay in good physical and mental health.

Good mental health is as important as good physical health. It helps you enjoy life and cope with problems. It offers a feeling of well-being and inner strength.

As others depend on you and your well-being, your mental health is also important to them. At times, an unbalanced state of mental health can affect how you interact with your family and friends, how you work, and how you take care of yourself.

Mental health and emotional difficulties are hard for many to discuss. We all share our physical pain with our family, friends and physicians, letting them know when we feel sick or hurt. Unfortunately, when we feel sad, nervous, can’t sleep or have nightmares, we are often too afraid or ashamed to share this pain.

A woman’s life goes through several stages, from childhood to the senior years. Being able to recognize difficulties and talk about mental health is important at every one of these stages.

 

Childhood is a time to build mental wellness, although sometimes mental illness at this stage can be the result of child abuse or other traumatic events. At other times, emotional difficulties have no cause other than a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. Left untreated, mental illness can lead to poor education, substance abuse, and early pregnancy. If you have a loved one with such difficulties, be a good listener, supportive, and caring. Seek professional help and encourage her to talk about her problems.

 Pregnancy can be a time of great joy, but it can also be a time when you feel sad and worried about the responsibilities of being a parent. Your body changes in shape and weight. More importantly, the hormonal changes of pregnancy and childbirth can affect how you feel and think.

Postpartum “baby blues” can affect 50 to 70 percent of new mothers. You feel sad and cry when you should be happy with your newborn. When these feelings last more than a few weeks, you might be experiencing a more serious condition, called postpartum depression. You are sad, you have no energy, you barely eat or sleep and you cannot take care of your baby and yourself.

During these times, you might not want to get help, but your family and friends need to step up and do it for you.

As you age, menopause brings changes to your body and the way you feel. There are different hormonal changes which can make you feel sad and experience mood swings. Caring for aging parents, having children leaving home, seeing loved ones pass away, and suffering from health problems can add stress and contribute to mental illness. It is important to find help in family and friends, and to seek out support groups.

 

To promote good mental health, keep exercising your body and mind. Participate in activities you enjoy, make new friends and enjoy the old ones, and get support from your family. Remember to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. You can also keep your mind alert by doing activities such as reading, playing cards, gardening, doing word or number puzzles, playing music, and going to concerts and shows. If you would like to seek professional help, please contact SBH Behavioral Health at 718-960-3071 for an intake appointment.

Remember, many people depend on you.