The majority of these attempts are drug-based, which coincides with most suicide research about gender differences in preferred method of personal dispatch; men are more likely to use firearms, while women are more likely to attempt to kill themselves with drugs or other toxic substances. Not surprisingly, men are generally far more successful, but the incidence of female suicide attempts is significantly higher. I'm not citing this information because I've read so much about suicide and mental health during the past 10 years that I can't even remember where I found all of these facts ... but I'm certain they're out there somewhere. Happy hunting, blog readers.
Anyway, this blog isn't about pointing you to interesting documents and factoids about health (all the time), so today we're going to launch into a discussion about mental health services in this nation and how women's health is grossly neglected. And .... go.
So, middle-aged women make up one of the fastest-growing demographics for newly diagnosed eating disorders. Middle-aged women are also apparently attempting to kill themselves more often. What gives? The linked article talks about hormone problems, "empty nest" syndrome, and other biological/psychological motivators, all of which seem perfectly legitimate. Have we stopped to think, though, that this generation of women might have been left behind by the healthcare system? That we have been carefully ignoring their needs for years?
My mother, for example, has had to practically pull out her doctors' teeth to get them to test her for heart conditions (they run in the family) and hormone problems (yep, I have them, too). These are relatively straightfoward conditions; imagine if my mom was like the woman in the linked article. Schizophrenia? Yep, good luck receiving appropriate treatment for a condition like that.
I imagine that if it's difficult for these women to receive adequate physical care, mental health care must be lacking.
This article is simply another supporting document for the degrading quality of healthcare in our nation (in my opinion). Using carefully collected anectdata (joke), I have found that many of my friends and family members have been ignored, if not flat-out mistreated, by medical professionals at university health centers and specialists' offices alike. Our healthcare system is sick and unable to accommodate physical and mental illness, despite increasing technological power.
This article also states that ONE IN FOUR Americans has a treatable mental illness. That's right. 25% of America is mentally ill (count me in the ranks!). Yet, mental illness is still so heavily stigmatized, and insurance companies are ridiculously hesitant to provide even a small bit of coverage for problems such as eating disorders and depression.
The implications of our social condition contained within this article are just too great to ponder. Gender politics, marginalization of the mentally ill, the cultural traditions of the Baby Boomers .... #head_explosion
I hope you enjoy thinking about these problems, as well. Get back to me when you've come up with a solution.