According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental health disorders affect men and women differently. Women may face unique challenges and experiences that can impact their mental health, which is why women’s only mental health programs have become increasingly popular in recent years.

At Valley Hospital of Phoenix, Arizona, we understand the importance of providing gender-specific settings for healing. In this article, we will explore the impact of gender on mental health, the benefits of women’s only mental health programs and how we can help.

Understanding Women’s Mental Health

Three older woman pose for a picture together while standing outdoors.

Researchers are only now truly starting to explore the different ways that men and women experience mental health issues. However, some still wonder why exploring mental health from a gender-specific perspective matters.

Studies show that women are more likely than men to experience common mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders. This may be attributed to several factors. For example, societal expectations and gender roles can place additional pressures on women to conform to certain standards, while cultural factors such as stigma and discrimination can further exacerbate mental health struggles.

Women are also more likely to experience trauma, such as sexual assault or domestic violence, which can take a toll on their mental health.

Additionally, some women experience mental health issues that are exclusive to women, such as perinatal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and perimenopause-related depression.

Despite the prevalence of mental health issues among women, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding women’s mental health. Many women feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help for their mental health struggles, fearing judgment or discrimination. This stigma can prevent women from seeking the support they need, leading to worsening mental health and a lower quality of life.

As a result, using a gender-specific lens in treatment can be highly beneficial in helping women receive the mental health care they need.

The Benefits of Women’s Only Mental Health Programs

Women’s only mental health programs, whether they take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting, can provide many benefits. These include:

A safe and supportive environment

One of the most important benefits of a women’s only mental health program is that it creates a safe and supportive environment for women to discuss their issues. In these gender-specific inpatient and outpatient programs, women can connect with others who have similar experiences and struggles, creating a sense of community and understanding.

This environment enables women to open up and share their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or misunderstanding. It also provides a space for women to support and uplift each other, creating a sense of empowerment and solidarity.

Furthermore, providing a woman-only environment can help women whose mental health issues are rooted in gendered trauma or experiences. For example, a woman who experienced sexual assault may feel that a female-only environment is safe and comfortable. Or a woman who experienced a pregnancy loss may find that a woman’s only space can provide the understanding and support she needs at that time.

Tailored treatment plans

As previously mentioned, women’s mental health needs are often unique. As a result, they may require different treatment approaches than men. Women’s counseling recognizes this and offers tailored treatment plans that address the specific needs and challenges of women.
Both inpatient programs and outpatient programs for women’s mental health can provide effective treatment modalities for women’s unique issues. This can include gender-specific group therapy, specialized treatment plans and activities and workshops that focus on women’s wellness.

Ability to address gender-specific issues

Women’s only mental health programs also give women the ability to address gender-specific issues that may contribute to their mental health struggles. These issues may include body image concerns, reproductive health and the impact of societal expectations on their mental well-being.

In women’s only programs, women have a specialized environment to discuss issues they may feel uncomfortable revealing in front of men. By addressing these issues in a safe and supportive environment, they can gain a better understanding of how these factors impact their mental health. Furthermore, women-only inpatient and outpatient programs enable women to learn specific coping mechanisms and tools to help them on their path to recovery and well-being.

Building a support network

Finally, women’s only mental health programs provide an opportunity for women to build a support network of other women who also understand and can relate to their experiences. This network can be a valuable source of emotional support and encouragement, especially during difficult times.

Having a support network can also help women feel less isolated and alone in their struggles. By gaining a support system, women learn that they are not alone in their struggles and that help is possible. Women’s only inpatient and outpatient programs can also help them feel less shame and stigma surrounding their mental health.

Women’s Program at Valley Hospital

Valley Hospital of Phoenix, Arizona, proudly provides our Women’s Mental Health Program. The Women’s Program is a mental health program specifically designed for women. Our comprehensive approach to treatment tackles common mental health issues among women, including postpartum depression, depression and anxiety related to reproductive health (infertility, loss of pregnancy), anxiety or obsessive disorders, trauma and relationship issues and more.

The Women’s Program is offered as an inpatient program or outpatient program. This means that no matter where you are in your mental health journey, Valley Hospital is here to provide the appropriate level of care you need.

If you or someone you know is a veteran struggling with mental health issues, know that help is available. Reach out to Valley Hospital at 602-957-4000 or complete this form to get started on your mental health recovery journey today.

If you are in crisis and need assistance immediately, call 911 or 988 for the Suicide Prevention Hotline.