Understanding Mental Health

According to Healthy People 2020, 8.5 percent of women in the United States reported having a major depressive episode in 2015. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that perinatal depression affects one in seven women in the U.S.

What is mental health?

Mental health is your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how you think, feel, act, handle stressful situations and socialize with others on a regular basis. Factors that shape your mental health include your environment, life experiences, brain chemistry and family history of mental illness. For example, it is likely that someone with a family history of mental illness and a prior traumatic life experience copes with stressful situations differently than a person who has no connection to either of those factors.

What is a mental illness or disorder?

A mental illness or disorder, defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Some of the most common mental disorders include depression and anxiety, which many people live with every day. People can experience episodes of varying severity that occur in relation to stressors and other events.

What are common symptoms of anxiety and depression in women?

Anxiety, categorized as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or social anxiety disorder, has characteristics that include uncontrollable and recurrent feelings of worry or fear. Some of the most common anxiety symptoms include restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating or controlling feelings of worry, feelings of intense fear or worry and nausea in stressful settings.


Depression is a common mood disorder that often manifests as seasonal, postpartum (after childbirth), persistent, psychotic or bipolar depression disorders. Depression shares many of the same symptoms as anxiety, such as restlessness and irritability. Depression often involves feelings of sorrow, guilt, worthlessness or helplessness and may lead to thoughts of death or suicide.


It is not uncommon for women to show signs of anxiety or depression during adolescence or after traumatic life events such as a miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillbirth or the passing of a loved one. Women who have suffered through a traumatic event or experience may bear a higher risk of developing a mental disorder or illness.


If you believe that you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, one of our experienced physicians at Women’s Care is here to help. Contact our Eugene/Springfield offices to speak with a compassionate staff member and schedule an appointment.