Women and Depression
Scientists are examining many potential causes for and contributing factors to women's increased risk for depression. It is likely that genetic, biological, chemical, hormonal, environmental, psychological, and social factors all intersect to contribute to depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), women are more likely than men to attempt suicide. If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help immediately.
- Call your doctor.
- Call 911 for emergency services.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
- Women experience depression at twice the rate of men. This 2:1 ratio exists regardless of racial or ethnic background or economic status. The lifetime prevalence of major depression is 20-26% for women and 8-12% for men. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1996)
- Postpartum mood changes can range from transient "blues" immediately following childbirth to an episode of major depression and even to severe, incapacitating, psychotic depression. Studies suggest that women who experience major depression after childbirth very often have had prior depressive episodes even though they may not have been diagnosed or treated. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1999)
- Depression may increase a woman's risk for broken bones. The hip bone mineral density of women with a history of major depression was found to be 10-15% lower than normal for their age - so low that their risk of hip fracture increased by 40% over 10 years. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1999)