Recently, I found myself thinking about women and depression. Women are almost twice as likely as men to require mental health treatment, and one in four women will experience depression in their lifetimes. The statistics for anxiety and other disorders are similar. Clinical depression (major depressive disorder) rarely goes away by itself, and treating it early–as soon as symptoms develop–alleviates suffering and leads to a faster recovery.

A recent article on mentalhealth.org explains that women tend to be the guardians of health for their families.

However busy they are, it is important that women look after their mental health. Traditionally, women have tended to take on the responsibility of looking after the members of their family and themselves. For instance, women often shop for their family and influence what they eat or advise their family when they feel unwell. This role makes it particularly important that women understand how the choices we all make in everyday life can affect our mental health.

As a therapist, I understand the many factors–genetics, family history, stress, trauma–that play into the onset of depression. When working with clients suffering from depression, the first thing I do is come up with a plan to alleviate symptoms such as sleep deprivation, weight gain or loss, isolation, irritability. Once these symptoms are addressed, clients are better able to communicate about and work with me to resolve the underlying issues causing them to feel depressed. Women tend to internalize feelings of anger and frustration, which can lead to depression; being able to express these feelings with a compassionate, non-judgmental counselor helps clients know they are not helpless or alone and enables them to begin to feel better about themselves and resume–and even surpass–their pre-depression functioning.

I am now accepting new therapy clients. For more information about my practice, please visit my website, Joyce Colburn Therapy.