Mental Health Issues Affecting Women Across the Life Cycle: Internal and External Factors

The state of the science considers the impact of both social and biological factors on the mental health of our nation's women and girls. The role of violence and discrimination in the genesis of mental health problems in women requires special consideration. Evaluation of mental health problems in women must consider the full context of their lives, as distress in women often has social origins. Biological, life cycle, hormonal and other factors unique to females may be linked to a higher incidence of depression, anxiety and psychological distress. Appropriate, non-stigmatizing and continuing care, which includes supportive and rehabilitative mental health services across the life span are essential to enable women to achieve their optimal level of functioning and well-being.

Target Audience

All healthcare providers with an interest in improving women’s healthcare, including obstetricians, gynecologists, primary care physicians, pediatricians, geriatricians, psychologists (Instructional Level: Intermediate), psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, advanced practice providers, radiologic technologists, residents and medical school students, as well as other female professionals interested in education to advance women’s healthcare.

Learning Objectives

  • Distinguish the role that mental health plays in the overall health of women throughout their life cycle. 
  • Recognize the mental health consequences of domestic violence, sexual abuse, challenging life events and acute and chronic stress in women. 
  • Evaluate mental health problems in women considering the full context of their lives, recognizing social and biological origins. 
  • Provide well-informed mental healthcare or referral to care in a timely fashion, in a non-stigmatizing setting.
Additional information
  • Stewart, D. E. (2006). The international consensus statement on women's mental health and the WPA consensus statement on interpersonal violence against women. World Psychiatry, 5(1), 61.
  • Roberts, L. W., Louie, A. K., Guerrero, A. P., Balon, R., Beresin, E. V., Brenner, A., & Coverdale, J. (2017). Premature mortality among people with mental illness: advocacy in academic psychiatry.
  • Walker, E. R., McGee, R. E., & Druss, B. G. (2015). Mortality in mental disorders and global disease burden implications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA psychiatry, 72(4), 334-341.
  • Vigo, D., Thornicroft, G., & Atun, R. (2016). Estimating the true global burden of mental illness. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(2), 171-178.
  • Woody, C. A., Ferrari, A. J., Siskind, D. J., Whiteford, H. A., & Harris, M. G. (2017). A systematic review and meta-regression of the prevalence and incidence of perinatal depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 219, 86-92.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 1.00 Psychology CE
  • 1.00 General certificate of attendance
  • 1.00 Nurse Practitioners
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Jacqueline A. Hobbs, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Vice Chair for Education and Director of Residency Training 
University of Florida College of Medicine
Gainesville, Florida

Jacqueline A. Hobbs, M.D., Ph.D., has indicated that neither she nor her spouse/partner has relevant financial relationships with commercial interest companies, and she will not include off-label or unapproved product usage in her presentation or discussion.

Non-faculty contributors and others involved in the planning, development and editing/review of the content have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Disclosure Policy and Disclaimer

Baptist Health South Florida is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Baptist Health has been re-surveyed by the ACCME and awarded Commendation for 6 years as a provider of CME for physicians.
Baptist Health South Florida designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Baptist Health South  Florida is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Baptist Health South Florida maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
  • 1.00 Psychology CE
  • 1.00 General certificate of attendance
  • 1.00 Nurse Practitioners
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