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Patriarchal Expectations Of Women And Mental Health

Mental health issues have always been evaluated, diagnosed and treated different among women and men. Believed to be the weaker sex, it is the woman that most believe to be more deeply affected by mental health issues including depression, anxiety and others. It is further assessed that, due to the vision of the woman being the weaker gender, patriarchal society has greatly impacted the views concerning women and mental health today.

The History of Mental Illness and Women

Before the 1800s women who suffered with mental illnesses such as those listed above were believed to have a disease that formed in their soul, this no medication or medical treatment would remedy the condition. Those women who were deemed to have these soul rendering diseases were usually put in mental asylums were they were treated as inhumanely as one could possibly imagine. They were kept inside of cages and lived in filth, usually unable to bath or come out of their cage. Those women were chained inside of their cages and kept naked without clothing. They were given little or no contact with other human beings, which we know now is enough to drive a person insane in itself.

Mental Health Reform

Long overdue the mental health reform act was finally put into place and those women who suffered with mental health illnesses were no longer treated to the substandard conditions as before. It was recognized that mental health was a disease of the brain, and one that could be treated with the proper diagnose and forms of treatment initiated. Evens till there are many patriarchal expectations still implanted into the minds of many, and those affected by mental health illnesses are still often criticized. Even still they are given the medical help and treatment necessary to maintain long, healthy and productive lives as members of our society in many circumstances.


The world’s perception of women and mental health illness may never changes. Some things never will. However, it is safe to say that mental health, and other’s views on the matter, has changed throughout the years. Women have rights and they also have treatments and an array of choices to go along with it. This is all partly thanks to the mental health reform act that was passed. Women, as well as men, suffer from mental health disorders, and it is time it was recognized as such.