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‘More women will suffer from mental disorders’ after Covid-19, warn experts

Feminization of care work, family workload and gender violence undermine women’s mental health

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13 June 2020 11:59 AM

by

Alan Ruiz Terol | Barcelona

Already more prone to suffering from mental disorders on a regular basis, women—experts say—will disproportionately be affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns enacted to prevent its spread. 

In an interview with Catalan News, Judith Usall, the coordinator of the Working and Research Group on Women’s Mental Health (GTRDSM) at the Catalan Society of Psychology and Mental Health (SCPiSM), warns that the Covid-19 crisis will hit women’s mental health harder due to its specificities. Therefore, she says, measures including a gender perspective are needed.

How will the pandemic affect women’s mental health?

Every time there is a crisis mental health issues increase. For women, the risk is already higher. But the circumstances of this current crisis make us think that even more women will suffer from mental disorders. Why? There is a greater number of women professionals who worked during the pandemic, such as doctors, nurses, or cleaners. Teachers also suffered, and many are women. Moreover, women are often in charge of childcare and household chores.

What could be done?

When returning to work, we should take into account whether people have children. We must consider work-life balance measures for both men and women. We should ask everyone what their needs are at home. Are they looking after children? Are they looking after their parents? We must take all of this into account.

Has violence against women increased?

Women who suffer violence are locked up with their assailants, so the risk is higher. Worldwide reports show that the number of women reporting abuse has increased dramatically. During these months, in Catalonia and all around the world, there are men who have killed their current or former partners.

How did the lockdown affect pregnant women?

They remained locked up, unable to share their pregnancy, with fewer visitors than normal. This surely hampered the monitoring of their pregnancy. When giving birth, they might have experienced it as what we always try to avoid: a medical experience.

 

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  • Two women walking by the sea in Tarragona, on May 24, 2020 (by Mar Rovira)

  • Two women walking by the sea in Tarragona, on May 24, 2020 (by Mar Rovira)

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