Victorian WHS Join the Call to Address the Crisis in Women’s Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Posted On: May 2, 2023

In this article:

  • Key Statistics
  • Who are the Women’s Health Services?
  • Who is HER Centre Australia?

Gippsland Women’s Health (GWH) has joined with all Women’s Health Services (WHS) across Victoria to support the ’Her Mental Health’ Campaign from the HER Centre, for a specific approach to women’s mental health, and the funding of more services, research, treatments and education of women’s specific mental health needs.

The mental health of women and girls is influenced by the intersection of sex, gender and other social factors.

The Women’s Health Services advocate for a well-funded, dynamic and thriving public health system; a system that supports the health of all our community. Our health system is not doing this if the specific needs of women are not being recognised.

– Kate Graham, CEO of GWH.

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni AM, Director of HER Centre Australia and Head of Psychiatry at Monash University says, ‘Current treatment options for women living with mental illness and mental ill health are not good enough. Too many times women receive the wrong diagnosis or the wrong treatment, or there just isn’t a good enough treatment option available yet.’

The Victorian WHS are joining the HER Mental Health Campaign and will be promoting their support to partners, members and the broader community. In addition, the services will collectively call for increased investment in health promotion of women’s mental wellbeing.

We are supporting HER Centre’s call for specialist women’s mental health clinics, for clinical trials of new treatments for women, and education for general public and health professionals on the gendered nature of mental health. The Victorian Women’s Health Services have over 30 years of expertise and impact in improving the health and wellbeing of all women across Victoria. We know how important it is to apply a gender lens to health and wellbeing. It delivers outcomes for women, and value for our state. If our government invests in a wellbeing economy, as has happened in Wales and New Zealand1, we will no longer have a vastly overstretched public mental health system.

– Kate Graham, CEO of GWH

The Women’s Health Services have developed a Theory of Change for women’s mental health and wellbeing, which sets out how to effectively address women’s mental health issues over the short-, medium- and longer-term using gender-transformative practice. Based on the latest evidence and research, the Theory of Change takes a population-level approach to address the decline in women’s mental health. A copy of the Theory of Change can be found here.

Key Statistics

Across Australia:

  • Women experience twice as much depression as men and four times as much anxiety.
  • 1 in 4 females in 2021 had a 12-month mental health disorder which increased to nearly half of females aged between 16 and 24 years having a 12-month mental health disorder.

In Gippsland: 

  • All six (6) local government areas rate above state average for women diagnosed with mental health conditions (per 10,000 people), with higher rates for women compared to men in each area*
  • Female admissions comprise two thirds of Victorian hospital admissions for intentional self-harm related injury. Latrobe currently has the highest rates of self-harm related injury in Gippsland, far exceeding state average*.
  • In a 2022 survey conducted by Gippsland Women’s Health, respondents rated mental health as the most important women’s health issue requiring urgent support, education, awareness and access to mental health practitioners / specialists (i.e. psychologists, counsellors).

*Source: Women’s Health Atlas, Victoria

Who are the Women’s Health Services?

Victoria’s Women’s Health Services (WHS) represent nine region based and three state-wide women’s health organisations (Women’s Health Victoria, the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and Women with Disability Victoria) which receive core funding from the Victorian Department of Health.

WHS’s work to improve the health and wellbeing of Victorian women. They have a track record in developing the infrastructure, expertise, partnerships, and policies to enable change to systems and structures to improve women’s health.

Who is HER Centre Australia?

HER Centre Australia, established as a formal Monash University Centre in 2022 stands for Health, Education, and Research in Women’s Mental Health. The focus of HER Centre Australia is to understand and treat mental illnesses experienced by women. The centre seeks to address numerous aspects of women’s mental health, the experiences of women with mental illness and potential options for treatment. Unlike any other centre nationally or internationally, HER Centre Australia is committed to specifically using these insights to develop world-first gender-tailored innovative treatments and interventions.