In recent decades, women’s mental health has been on a decline. Nearly 1 in 5 women have a common mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. In addition, 53 percent of women experiencing a mental health challenge have experienced abuse. However, many of us are often unable to find and access appropriate resources during a mental health crisis. This is particularly alarming since 36 percent of women who have experienced extensive physical and sexual violence have attempted suicide and 22 percent have self-harmed.  

Behavioral health screenings are one of the most simple and effective tools for early intervention. They consist of a series of questions that can help a person learn more about their thinking and behavior. They can be taken in-person or online for a variety of mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, domestic abuse, and eating disorders. While most screenings do not act as a diagnosis, they can help a person in distress navigate their current mental health and indicate if they may need further help.  

Why should more women take behavioral health screenings? 

Given the rise of mental health challenges in women, encouraging behavioral health screenings can be a simple yet effective way of helping thousands of people take the first step to recovery. While screenings can be found on a host of platforms such as Healthy Minds Philly, online advocacy websites, community organizations and healthcare offices, many people are often unaware of how to access them. Advocating and promoting behavioral health screenings to women can help save lives, especially to women of color, who face additional challenges such as the combined burden of racism and sexism.  

Healthy people means a happy and thriving community. Our mental health is crucial to our emotional and physical wellbeing. In 2021, there was an estimated 1.7 million suicide attempts with women reporting a suicide attempt 1.33 times as often as men. Along with helping prevent young girls and women from dying by suicide, behavioral health screenings can be a spark of recovery for men as well.  

Where can I find behavioral health screenings? 

About the Author: Maira Asif is a student of medical anthropology and global health at the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in the intersection of mental health and social media along with creative solutions to help advocate for challenges faced by underrepresented communities.