New research by the Women's Mental Health Alliance shows women are more likely than men to experience negative mental health impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research included a consumer survey by the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC). It found 79% of women reported a decline in their mental health, compared to 52% of men.
Women also reported higher levels of depression, stress, anxiety and suicidal ideation than men during the second wave of the pandemic.
The study said the pandemic had highlighted existing inequalities between women and men.
- a higher number of women in insecure employment and unequal responsibility for unpaid care
- an increase in intimate partner violence and other forms of discrimination against women
The research reported that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic mental health services and emergency departments experienced a substantial increase in women presenting with serious mental health conditions. These include severe anxiety, depression and self-harm.
Mental Health Reform Victoria (MHRV) has called for expressions of interest to establish a 35-bed acute mental health service for consumers who identify as women.
These beds will be delivered through a partnership between a public mental health service and a private hospital. This is part of a broader response to the Interim Report of the Royal Commission which called for a targeted expansion in acute mental health services.