Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Mental health, Rurality and Research
Mental health, rurality and research
Today the events I went to were absolutely AMAZING. Prior to today, I hadn’t gone to any events that were related to my research topic. Today, I went to a session on rural women and on mental health. Both of these sessions reaffirmed my interests in mental health and rurality. It was very reassuring to hear so many well-qualified women discussing issues that are so important to me.
I learned that the MDGs did not include any trace of women’s mental health and this floored me! I also learned that within the UN, mental health is very stigmatized. Luckily, mental health has been addressed throughout the STGs even with the stigma attached to it. This is so important as mental health disorders, particularly depression are very comorbid with various other non-communicable diseases and other mental health disorders.
One interesting part of the mental health session was on the mental health of imprisoned women. Right before this CSW60, I went to a conference at UNC's Law School on mental health and incarceration. In this session we talked about how peoples with mental illness are often incarcerated at higher rates. Kelly Clarke spoke to this at CSW. Incarceration rates are on the rise across the globe. While incarceration rates of men have went up 18%, incarceration rates of women have went up by nearly 50%. Most women are placed in jail for results of poverty or inability to pay fines. Similarly, physical and sexual abuse in childhood are large predictors of female incarceration. Nearly 80% of incarcerated women have at least 1 mental health disorder, whereas 70% have 2 or more.
Not only do women who are incarcerated typically have higher rates of mental health disorders, they also tend to develop mental health problems once they are in jail. Jails and prisons are environments that often are incredibly hard for women to live in. Whether that be because of being away from family and children, lack of exercise or other factors, often prisons environments severely hurt women’s mental health.
Overall, I had a great day today at CSW60 and I look forward to hearing Maddy speak at the U.S. Mission and going to more CSW events!