Prioritizing Mental Health During Women's Health Week
Friday, May 19, 2023
To wrap up Women's Health Week, doctors are urging women to take stock of their mental health.
Dr. Sharon Eloranta, medical director at the Washington Health Alliance, said COVID-19 was hard for everyone and led to a drop in health screenings.
She said with the worst of the pandemic over, some women may need to consider how to prioritize their health.
"Women experienced more anxiety and stress during the time of the pandemic," said Eloranta, "and I think that may have been reflective of the fact that they worry not only about their own health, but about health of the people in their families and others. And that can be a hill to climb if you're trying to get back into taking good care of yourself."
For Women's Health Week - which runs through Saturday - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking women to schedule regular checkups, exercise and eat a healthy and balanced diet.
CDC data show a disturbing trend in mental health, with the rate of young girls saying they attempted suicide twice that of young boys.
Dr. Donna O'Shea, an OB/GYN and chief medical officer of Population Health at UnitedHealthcare, said parents need to be on the lookout for symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescent girls.
"Especially after COVID," said O'Shea. "We found that 57% of high school girls have experienced persistent feelings of sadness in the last year. Ten years ago, that number was only 36%."
Eloranta said it's important for people to pay attention when they aren't feeling normal.
"'I'm just down, and nothing that usually makes me happy tends to change it.' Then that's time to reach out and try and find some support," said Eloranta. "And again, it can be through your employer, it can be through your primary care. You can always call a friend and see if they have any referrals for you to go and get some assistance."
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