Gender-Sensitive Mental Health Care

Centre for Women's Mental Health, Royal Women's Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.
Australasian Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.47). 05/2009; 17(2):105-11. DOI: 10.1080/10398560802596108
Source: PubMed


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to examine aspects of mental health and mental health care through a gender lens. CONCLUSION: Gender differences have an impact on mental health and the experience and course of women's mental illness. Comprehensive gender-sensitive mental health care requires the planning, delivery, monitoring and quality improvement initiatives of mental health care to be informed by a knowledge and understanding of gender differences in women and men and their inter-relationship with respect to childhood and adult life experiences (e.g. violence and abuse); day-to-day social, cultural, and family realities; expression and experience of mental ill health and treatment needs and responses.

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    • "It is well recognized that gender differences have an impact on mental health in many disorders, and in particular on the course of schizophrenia [8]. Neurodevelopmental [9,10] and neuropathological theories [11,12], and the estrogen protection hypothesis [13,14] have all been proposed as explanations for how gender differences develop in schizophrenia. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the recent increase of research interest in involuntary treatment and the use of coercive measures, gender differences among coerced schizophrenia patients still remain understudied. It is well recognized that there are gender differences both in biological correlates and clinical presentations in schizophrenia, which is one of the most common diagnoses among patients who are treated against their will. The extent to which these differences may result in a difference in the use of coercive measures for men and women during the acute phase of the disease has not been studied. 291 male and 231 female coerced patients with schizophrenia were included in this study, which utilized data gathered by the EUNOMIA project (European Evaluation of Coercion in Psychiatry and Harmonization of Best Clinical Practice) and was carried out as a multi-centre prospective cohort study at 13 centers in 12 European countries. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, social functioning and aggressive behavior in patients who received any form of coercive measure (seclusion and/or forced medication and/or physical restraint) during their hospital stay were assessed. When compared to the non-coerced inpatient population, there was no difference in sociodemographic or clinical characteristics across either gender. However coerced female patients did show a worse social functioning than their coerced male counterparts, a finding which contrasts with the non-coerced inpatient population. Moreover, patterns of aggressive behavior were different between men and women, such that women exhibited aggressive behavior more frequently, but men committed severe aggressive acts more frequently. Staff used forced medication in women more frequently and physical restraint and seclusion more frequently with men. Results of this study point towards a higher threshold of aggressive behavior the treatment of women with coercive measures. This may be because less serious aggressive actions trigger the application of coercive measures in men. Moreover coerced women showed diminished social functioning, and more importantly more severe symptoms from the "excitement/hostile" cluster in contrast to coerced men. National and international recommendation on coercive treatment practices should include appropriate consideration of the evidence of gender differences in clinical presentation and aggressive behaviors found in inpatient populations.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · BMC Psychiatry
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    • "Female consumers are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment or assault (Copperman & Knowles 2006). Impaired judgement (Earle 2001; McCandless & Sladen 2003) resulting from illness can increase the likelihood of abuse (Cole et al. 2003; Judd et al. 2009). The incidence of adult sexual abuse for consumers has been estimated at 40% for males and up to 68% for females (Coverdale & Turbott 2000; Goodman et al. 2001; Warne actions, or their colleagues considering this practice a boundary violation (Quinn et al. 2011b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Sexual issues are common for consumers of mental health services and have many adverse consequences for quality of life as well as impacting negatively on the mental illness itself. Nurses in mental health settings are well placed to assess for the presence of and provide interventions for sexual concerns. To date, little research has been undertaken to explore nurses' attitudes and whether sexual issues would be accepted as part of their care. This paper presents findings from the third stage of a qualitative, exploratory research study with mental health nurses working in an Australian mental health service. The findings from the first two stages suggested that the participants had tended to avoid discussion of sexual issues, but a brief education intervention had produced a greater willingness to address sexual issues as part of care. The aim of the third stage was to determine the degree to which changes in practice had continued over time. Two main themes that emerged from this data were: (i) holism, from rhetoric to reality; and (ii) part of what I do. Addressing sexual issues became part of practice, a change sustained 2 years following the intervention, because participants recognized its importance for holistic nursing care.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · International journal of mental health nursing
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    • "The need to provide a range of treatments informed by a greater understanding of gender differences has therefore become a pressing issue. A gender-focused mental healthcare model would highlight the importance of contextualizing health service delivery in relation to the social, cultural and economic situation of individuals seeking care (Judd et al. 2009 ; Amaddeo & Tandella, 2011 "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND. This paper examined the hypothesis that males with first-episode psychosis (FEP) experience lower pre-morbid adjustment, greater social disability and more self-perceived needs at illness onset than females(by controlling for duration of untreated psychosis, diagnosis, age and symptoms at onset). Results disconfirming this hypothesis were thought to suggest the potentially mediating role of social context in determining the impact of symptoms and disability on the everyday lives of male patients in the early phase of psychosis. METHOD. A large epidemiologically representative cohort of FEP patients (n=517) was assessed within the Psychosis Incident Cohort Outcome Study (PICOS) framework – a multi-site research project examining incident cases of psychosis in Italy's Veneto region. RESULTS. Despite poorer pre-morbid functioning and higher social disability at illness onset, males reported fewer unmet needs in the functioning domain than females did. An analysis of help provided by informal care givers showed that males received more help from their families than females did. This finding led us to disconfirm the second part of the hypothesis and suggest that the impact of poorer social performance and unmet needs on everyday life observed in male patients might be hampered by higher tolerance and more support within the family context.CONCLUSIONS. These findings shed new light on rarely investigated sociocultural and contextual factors that may account for the observed discrepancy between social disability and needs for care in FEP patients. They also point to a need for further research on gender differences, with the ultimate aim of delivering gender-sensitive effective mental health care.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Psychological Medicine
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