By: Saipriya V

Depression is one of the serious mental illness, which is under recognized and under treated globally. Depression can severely affect the physical well being of a person, resulting in chronic fatigue, changes in appetite and sleep problems.  A person with depression can also experience mood swings, irritability,sadness, loss of temper, emptiness, hopelessness, poor concentration, difficulty in decision making and social withdrawal.

Depression  has been reported primarily among women, it may be due to the fact that, women experience several  biological changes such as onset of mensuration, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause, but  social roles of women , her work roles and her position at home and society could play major role in depression rather than the biological factors.

Though strides towards women empowerment and women’s literacy are in high in South Asian countries, but one of the serious mental health problems among women such as depression is not adequately addressed.  It may due to the fact that  depression symptoms in a woman are often ignored because in our society women who are sad, crying or feeling tired are considered as a typical characteristics of being a woman.

One of the major causes of depression among South Asian women is the patriarchal norms of our society, where violence against women have gained social acceptance . Violence is often considered by men as a way of  venting their anger or punishing a woman with an aim of maintaining male authority in the household, but on the other hand silence, obedience and subordination are often expected from the women.

Though women are becoming economically independent and finding their own identity in the society,  their role expectation in their family such as house chores, child care remains the same. This gender role expectation further increases the incidence of depression among women. Similarly, the patriarchal norms in our society  allow men  to take decisions and dictate whether a woman can work, can have friends or even having a separate bank account. These oppressions  in our society against women  are the major source of depression among women.

If  a little attention is given to women’s mental health , many women in our society can be protected from this dreadful disease



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Jambunathan, J. (1992). Sociocultural factors in depression in Asian Indian women. Health care for women international13(3), 261-270.