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The Problem

The link between Gender based Violence and Mental Health 


There is no question of the impact gender based violence has on the mental health of women. Gender based Violence includes but is not limited to, physical violence, domestic violence, emotional violence, economic violence and harmful traditional practices such as forced marriages and FGM on women.

Studies have shown that women with histories of gender based violence have significantly higher incidences of major depression and that 50% of women who have experienced violence have also had a mental health diagnosis. The risk of developing depression, PTSD, substance use issues or becoming suicidal was three to five times higher for women who have experienced violence*.  The WHO also states that by 2020 Depression is predicted to be the second leading cause of global burden of disease.

Furthermore a large number of studies provide strong evidence that gender based differences contribute significantly to the higher prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders in girls and women compared to boys and men.

Women's mental health: The Facts (WHO)

  1. Depressive disorders account for close to 41.9% of the disability from neuropsychiatric disorders among women compared to 29.3% among men.

  2. Leading mental health problems of the older adults are depression, organic brain syndromes and dementias. A majority are women.

  3. An estimated 80% of 50 million people affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacement are women and children.

  4. Lifetime prevalence rate of violence against women ranges from 16% to 50%.

  5. At least one in five women suffer rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.

Our focus

Friendsline has chosen to focus on supporting women and girls from poverty stricken regions within developing countries where there is an acute lack of mental health resources, education and support. 

*Source: Canadian Women's Foundation and WHO

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