Women Seeking Mental Health Help Labelled 'Dramatic': Survey

The survey interviewed over 2,000 women and asked about their experiences related to the mental health crisis. A fifth of young women seeking mental health help were told they were being dramatic.

Snehal Mutha
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women mental health
Have you heard someone saying: 'Enough of your drama, Get out of it.' It takes immense courage to ask for help but this phrase has become quite common these days. Confusing right? No person likes to feel depressed or have panic attacks. After gathering all the courage, if a woman is trying to get themselves treated, the whole world bombards her with patronised slurs. First, family, society, and then sometimes counsellors also. The question is to whom should a woman turn and seek help. 

A recent YouGov survey by the suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) revealed a fifth of young women, who asked for help for their mental health were told they were being “dramatic”. The survey interviewed over 2,000 women and asked them about their experiences related to a mental health crisis and how they navigated it. It revealed some astonishing results.

UK Survey On Women's Mental Health

The feelings and symptoms of women seeking mental health were either dismissed or ignored. The problems were associated with women's menstrual health and emotional quotient. Instead of considering their mental health issues and treating them, they were told the issues could be 'hormonal', 'emotional', 'dramatic', 'overthinking', or maybe mood swings due to periods.

The survey found that 27% of women seeking mental health help were told of their issues could be hormonal, 20% were asked if they were on their periods, 33% were asked if they were overthinking things, and 20% were asked of being dramatic. The survey also revealed women felt that they were not taken seriously when attempted to seek help. 19% felt dismissed or invisible. 

Women feared being tagged as attention seekers. The survey disclosed that 22% of the women feared being seen as 'attention-seeking'. Many are tagged as 'wannabe depressed' in the age of social media. 

Mental health problems stayed under the rug for a long time due to the stereotypical attitude of society. People criticised the seekers and tagged them as mentally ill. For women, it becomes more difficult. Society has a set framework for women, be it in private or public spaces. Society has set standards for beauty, body image, relationships, and marriages. Women are constantly put on a pedestal. To cope-up with it every day is exhausting. Besides, career stress, relationship issues, and financial concerns are major factors contributing to mental health crises.


Loneliness is another contributor to mental health concerns. 'I have no one to talk to' is a phrase often heard. Given the scenario, if outside help is also judgemental or condescending then it is obvious for women to shut the door and keep enduring it quietly. 

Women are long considered dismissive, not competent enough to make their own decision. Hence, they are just ignored. For them opening up about mental health issues is a big deal, yet their concerns are dismissed and ignored merely by tagging them emotional or so-called mood swings. 

Research from a year back revealed that labelling a woman as “emotional” makes her argument less credible. A woman's issues are often related to her emotions, which means it is assumed that it has no rational base or practical approach. The emotional label hampers the legitimacy of what women have to say. Calm survey showed 33% feared being seen as too emotional. 

The judgmental purview of women's mental health issues can lead to some drastic aftermath, one being suicide. Calm several times raised the prevalence of suicide among young women. As per a report, young women have seen the largest increase in the suicide rate since 1981. If the pre-conceptions keep on hampering women's issues, leaving them unheard, and enduring them, they are putting women's lives in danger.

Dear society, can we stop labelling women? For a minute genuinely listen to what they have to say or suffer from. Social media has enough to judge and make women feel insecure. Can the caregivers for once stop shaming women or labelling their issues? Can we stop being ignorant of massive mental health issues? It is time to overcome prejudices that impact women adversely. If bias-free support is provided, then women's safety can be ensured. 

If you or your close ones are struggling with mental health, it's never too late to seek help. Contact professional medical experts for the same.


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Views expressed by the author are their own

UK survey women's mental health CALM Women Suicide