Women’s charity Agenda has called on the government to ensure that mental health services in England adequately address the needs of their female mental health patients.
The organisation carried out a Freedom of Information request, to which 35 NHS Mental Health Trusts responded, with a purpose to highlight the risks that a lack of gender-awareness in mental health can pose to female patients.
Of the respondents, only one trust had a women’s mental health strategy, while every other trust had no clear strategy that recognised women’s mental health needs.
Another 18 of the trusts had no policy on ‘routine enquiry’ (the practice of routinely asking female patients about the experience of abuse).
To promote awareness about this issue Agenda launched its #Womeninmind campaign, which calls for women’s needs, and in particular their experience of abuse and violence, to be prioritised and taken seriously in policy, strategy and delivery.
“Our mental health trusts are not adequately considering the needs of women,” said Katharine Sacks-Jones, Director of Agenda.
“Too many women facing poor mental health bounce from crisis to crisis unable to get the help they need. The majority have experienced violence and abuse, and many report needing women-specific spaces to feel safe.
“That’s why we’re launching our Women in Mind campaign calling on government and local mental health trusts to ensure women’s needs are taken into account in mental health strategies and services.”