WOMEN'S HEALTH BLOG May 2022
No More Suffering in Silence:
Improving Women’s Mental Health Outcomes
Written by Dr. Tracy L. Reed, Ph.D., LPC-S
Shocked, sad, hurt, heartbroken, devastated. These are all words I’ve heard used in response to the recent tragic death of a young, Black female college freshman in Louisiana this week, a loss that appears to be connected to a history of struggles with serious mental health conditions. As an experienced mental health professional for over 20 years, hearing news like this never gets easier. As I thought about the situation, so many thoughts, feelings, and questions came up. How could this happen? Did she talk to someone? Were others ignoring the signs? How could this have turned out differently? So many unanswered questions left me pondering one lingering thought… Why are so many women suffering in silence with mental health issues? In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to bring specific attention to Women’s Mental Health and offer thoughts and suggestions on what you can do if you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health.
Our mental health plays a large part in our overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, due to the nature of life and lived experiences, sometimes we have problems coping with our emotions which can, in turn, impact our mental health. There is no reason to hide it or be ashamed when this happens. Rather, it’s important to recognize these feelings and be honest about them so we can seek help when necessary. According to the U.S. Office of Women’s Health, 1 in 5 American women is experiencing a mental health condition. Although certain mental health conditions affect different populations in different ways, research suggests women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and eating disorders. Yet, despite the prevalence of mental health struggles among women, so many women continue to deal with issues on their own instead of reaching out for help and support. Why is this? What is it that stops women from seeking help?
3 Reasons Why Women Might Suffer in Silence
- They were taught that keeping struggles to themselves and dealing with it on their own is the only way to handle it. (“This is just the way it is.”)
- Cultural and societal norms perpetuate the false belief that struggles with mental health equal weakness. (“Others will think I’m not strong enough to cope.”)
- Difficulty accessing quality, culturally affirming, relatable care and resources. (“Nobody else understands how I feel.”)
These reasons for staying silent while going through mental health issues alone are detrimental to women’s overall health and well-being. If any of these reasons resonate with you, you may be suffering in silence and not even realize it. Don’t stay silent! SPEAK UP and GET HELP!
If you or someone you know is feeling physically and mentally stressed and overwhelmed, frustrated and confused, or lost and hopeless, please know that help is available, and you do not have to suffer in silence.
- KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Millions of people around the globe experience mental health conditions and still live healthy, fulfilling lives daily.
- BELIEVE THINGS CAN GET BETTER EVENTUALLY. It might feel like things will never get better, but with time, ANYTHING can improve. Allow this belief to be the anchor that keeps you from drifting deeper into despair and hopelessness.
- SEEK OUT COMPASSIONATE HELP AND GENUINE SUPPORT. There are many options for treating mental health disorders, including therapy/life coaching, medication management, support groups, and mindfulness-based techniques. It may take some time to discover which treatments you prefer, but the most important step is to REACH OUT and STOP SUFFERING IN SILENCE.
Tracy L. Reed, Ph.D., LPC-S
Dr. Tracy L. Reed is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Spiritual Life Coach, and certified Holistic Womb Care Educator from Thibodaux, Louisiana. She currently owns and operates QUEEN’S BAYOU HOLISTIC WELLNESS, LLC, a private wellness practice on the West bank of New Orleans; where she offers a variety of wellness services, including mental health therapy and life coaching, yoni steaming, and other feminine wellness products for the mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Reed is passionate about helping clients identify personal struggles and work on ways to improve their daily functioning and live their best lives. She has over 20 years of counseling experience assisting at-risk youth, college students, and adults requiring behavioral health support. Dr. Tracy’s compassionate, genuine and direct counseling style has helped countless numbers of individuals reach their personal goals and thrive from WITHIN despite challenging circumstances. Dr. Tracy is currently accepting new clients and can be reached for services at:
Queen’s Bayou Holistic Wellness, LLC
405 Gretna Blvd. (Suite 205) Gretna, LA 70053