All In Her Head
How Gender Bias Harms Women's Mental Health
- ISBN: 9781771649711
- Tags: All Books, Medical, Misty Pratt, Social Science, Women's Health,
- Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
- Published On: 5/7/2024
- 336 Pages
This provocative, deeply personal book explores how women experience mental health care differently than men—and lays out how the system must change for women to flourish.
Why are so many women feeling anxious, stressed out, and depressed, and why are they not getting the help they need? Over the past decade, mood disorders have skyrocketed among women, who are twice as likely to be diagnosed as men. Yet in a healthcare system steeped in gender bias, women’s complaints are often dismissed, their normal emotions are pathologized, and treatments routinely fail to address the root causes of their distress. Women living at the crossroads of racial, economic, and other identities face additional barriers. How can we pinpoint what’s wrong with women’s mental health, and what needs to change?
In All in Her Head, science writer Misty Pratt embarks on a crucial investigation, painting a picture of a system that is failing women on multiple levels. Pratt, who shares her own history of mental illness, explores the stereotypes that have shaped how we understand and treat women’s distress, from the Ancient Greek concept of “hysteria” to today’s self-help solutions. Weaving together science and women’s personal stories, All in Her Head debunks mental health myths and challenges misconceptions, addressing the following questions:
- When did normal emotions become symptoms of a disorder?
- What are specific risk factors for common mental disorders that disproportionately affect women?
- How did “burnout” become a women’s disease?
- What can we do to make peace with our moods and embrace the gifts of our emotions?
Pratt also tackles the thorny topic of medication, taking a nuanced and evidence-based approach. Women who present at their doctor’s office with depression, anxiety, or stress are often prescribed antidepressants as a first-line treatment: at least one in four American women are now taking these medications. Antidepressants have a real effect that can be helpful for some individuals; however, Pratt persuasively argues that our current approach ignores the underlying causes of most women’s depressive symptoms.
Today, a rising movement of women is demanding better when it comes to mental health treatment. Armed with the latest science, insight from those who have been through the therapeutic system, and enough humor to lighten the load, All in Her Head provides women with hope and courage to reframe and reclaim their mental health.
Misty Pratt is a medical researcher who has written for publications including Broadview, Mindful.org, and Today’s Parent. All in Her Head is her first book. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.