The Hypatia Cycle points to society as the cause of the worsening of women’s mental health

The second session of the Hypatia Cycle, entitled “The impact of the pandemic and the crisis on mental health from a gender perspective”, denounced the invisibility that is being given to this serious problem increased by the triple crisis of Covid-19 . It has been pointed out that the cause is the structure of society and not the pandemic. During the talk, urgent measures were called to stop the worsening of mental health, which has affected mainly women.

The president of 50a50, Anna Mercadé, introduced the Hypatia Forum and explained that “most of these problems fall on women, who have been at the forefront as professionals in care, medicine, pharmaceuticals and cleaning”.

Leticia Asenjo Huete, technical director of EDAI, exposed the situation of mental health in girls and their families: “There have been underdiagnoses of disorders in girls and the burden of parenting has fallen on mothers”.

In addition, 22% of women have suffered an anxiety attack compared to 9% of men, as explained by Dolores Liria, psychologist and commissioner for Professional Development and Employability at the Official College of Psychology of Catalonia. The rapporteur added that the mental health of women cannot be improved without social change.

Next, Anna Olivé i Torralba, from General Medicine and Psychogeriatrics at the Hospital Mare de Deu de la Mercè, member of the board and vice-president of the sections of residential doctors and the socio-sanitary field of the CoMB, spoke about the impact on older women. “Women live longer but with a worse quality of life, we are late to the consultation (and more so with the pandemic) and we carry the burden of care without this being valued”, said Olivé.

Alba Luque Tintó, nurse at the Mental Health Home Hospitalization Unit at the Mollet del Vallés Health Foundation, gave voice to nursing professionals and highlighted the violence of the system on women with a moving story: “The men came back from the war as heroes. We, nurses, would go home and stay alone, we couldn’t even hug our children”.

Gemma Parramon Puig, head of section of the Psychiatry Service of the Hospital de la Vall d’Hebron, explained how the cases of eating disorders and suicide attempts have increased dramatically. “Care must be 50a50, we need to improve the living conditions of women and co-responsibility must be demanded”, added Parramon.

Finally, the speakers called for urgent actions to be carried out to improve the mental health of women, such as increasing resources, policies to improve work-life balance, training of professionals in gender perspective and more psychologists in primary care centers. Combating the feminization of precariousness, adapting services to women, co-responsibility, a gender perspective in all programs, disaggregating all data by sex, and shared leadership between men and women in the health sector are other proposals made.