Pressures on Women Impacting Mental and Physical Health
31st OF August 2012
It comes as little surprise to hear that ninety-eight per cent of Australian women feel that society puts too much pressure on the lives of females in Australia. From looking glamorous to being an attentive mother and wife to having a successful career, modern women who want to ‘have it all’ are living under an enormous amount of pressure. But new research has shown that this mounting pressure is more serious than we would have guessed and, worryingly, not nearly enough women are seeking professional help.
The Liptember Women’s Mental Health Report showed that the vast majority of women feel they are expectated to be thin (92%), look young (91%), appear glamorous (83%) and be married or in a serious relationship (63%).
Child birth brings no relief for women who feel their appearance is scrutinised; seventy-eight per cent of new mums cited feeling an expectation to look fabulous within weeks of giving birth.
These scary statistics show that women feel under more pressure to be perfect than ever but the source of this pressure is not as readily agreed upon. Fifty-three per cent say these expectations come from other people, while forty-three per cent report they are simply too hard on themselves. Unsurprisingly, ninety-three per cent of women surveyed saying they have been stressed at some point in their lives with seventy-five per cent saying that stress has caused sleeping problems and an alarming forty-four per cent said they have found it physically challenging just to get out of bed.
This sort of debilitating stress should be taken seriously but despite the fact that eight-eight per cent of Aussie women say they worry about their emotional wellbeing, only one third have consulted a healthcare professional about it. Dr Naomi Thomas, Clinical psychologist with the Centre for Women’s Mental Health, was not surprised to hear that many women are not seeking help, “We commonly see women at the centre who are struggling with unrealistic high expectations of themselves when they are going through times of great change, such as early motherhood, which can lead to feelings of failure, inadequacy and, ‘not being good enough.’ It is important for women to know that help is available, and they don’t have to struggle through this on their own.”
This report has been commissioned by Liptember, an annual initiative run in September to raise awareness of, and funds for, women’s health. All funds raised go directly to the Centre for Women’s Mental Health - the first gender specific mental health clinic in Australia - and Lifeline Australia.
Liptember Ambassador Kelly Landy, TV presenter and wife of RESCU expert Anthony Bell, says she has seen first-hand the vital differences funds raised from Liptember make to the lives of Australian women needing help. “I’ve been a Liptember ambassador for three years and I know how important this campaign is. Money raised has provided Lifeline telephone crisis supporters and to established antenatal programs that support new mums at the Centre For Women’s Mental Health.”
Support this important cause by purchasing the official Liptember Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose from Myer or Lorna Jane stores nationally and gain sponsorship from family and friends as you wear it during the month of September. For more information, visit www.liptember.com.au
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