Approximately 12 million women in the United States experience clinical depression each year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 70% of women are more likely to experience depression during the course of their lives. Depression occurs most frequently in women ages 25-44. Many factors may contribute to depression, such as developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic and other biological differences (e.g., premenstrual syndrome, childbirth, infertility and menopause). Social factors may also lead to higher rates of clinical depression among women, including stress , family responsibilities, roles and expectations of women and increased rates of sexual abuse and poverty. Additionally, the risk for depression increases after pregnancy, during menstruation,and during menopause.
Depression often coexists (see comorbidity) with other illnesses such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other serious medical conditions.
Women place a great deal of their self-worth on their personal relationships such as romantic partnerships, friendships, and family connections. When these relationships are strained or lost, this can affect women greatly also leading to symptoms of depression.
Depression is treatable. Women are more likely to seek help from friends, family, and visit a doctor to receive treatment. There are a multitude of resources available for support and treatment. Consult a medical professional and/or mental health specialist to first discuss your concerns. There are also a variety of lifestyle changes and resources available to help with depression by clicking here.
WHO Global Women Health Statistics
National Institute of Mental Health, D/ART Campaign: “Depression: What Every Woman Should Know,” (1995).
National Institute of Mental Health, Unpublished Epidemiological Catchment Area Analyses, (1999).
National Institute of Mental Health: “Depression: Treat It. Defeat It.” June, 1999