Controversies in Depression from a Woman’s Health Perspective


University of Toronto, University Health Network Centre for Mental Health, Toronto, Canada


Women’s mental health, especially depression, often has social origins and can only be understood by considering the social, cultural, economic, biologic and personal context of their lives. But psychiatry has largely focused on individual psychopathology and biological factors often from a male perspective. Looking at depression, as an example, which disproportionately affects women, this presentation will explore and critique some current understandings of depression from a woman’s health perspective. Hormonal aspects, violence, reproductive choices, family, work, cultural factors and access to treatment will be mentioned as contributing factors to depression in women. We conclude that women are more than reproductive machines and a broad look at the context of women’s lives is needed to understand and treat depression.