Womens issues

Women, by virtue of their increased exposure to acute life events, chronic social stresses, lower social status and income, and smaller social networks, (35) are often particularly vulnerable to common mental disorders/36' There is also a small group of disorders specific to women, associated with menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth.(37) Untreated mental illness in mothers can have strongly deleterious effects on the development of children, and one of the most important preventive actions that can be taken in the mental heath arena is to ensure adequate and prompt treatment of all postnatal illness.

Therefore government departments with responsibility for women's issues will need to consider access to education, training, and health care for women, and the influence of other government policies on these issues. It will want to liaise with other government departments, particularly the department with responsibility for home affairs, on government policies influencing family cohesiveness, for example, mechanisms such as taxation and welfare benefits in place to support families, reduce family breakdown, and reduce the burden on women as they struggle to raise their children. In some countries, mental illness is a sufficient reason for divorce, and such premature divorces will often leave a parent without financial support, to the detriment of the mother and child. It is therefore important to make available marital support and therapy. This is an activity that can often be usefully delivered by a non-governmental organization.

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