Gender Discrimination on Mental Health | Banyan Treatment Center
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The Effects of Gender Discrimination on Mental Health

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The Effects of Gender Discrimination on Mental Health

No one likes to feel discriminated against or like they are being treated unfairly, but discrimination extends beyond an uncomfortable or irritable annoyance.

Over time, these unjust actions and behaviors can lead to serious problems including those related to the person’s mental health.

The Connection Between Gender Discrimination & Mental Health

As a mental health facility in Florida, we know that mental health disorders often stem from a variety of contributing factors. Many people talk about how childhood traumas or chronic stress can negatively impact mental health, but there are several other causes for mental illness. One possible factor that is not often talked about is how sexism and gender discrimination affect mental health.

While gender discrimination may seem mostly innocuous to some, severe and frequent discrimination may have lasting effects. A research study found that gender discrimination and poor mental health may be connected. The study found that women who reported sex discrimination were found to be three times as likely to see a decline in their mental health over the next four years including experiencing clinical depression.1 Even though the sex discrimination may have stopped, these women were experiencing negative mental health effects years later.

Another study found that verbal abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual assault on flight attendants was associated with higher rates of depression.2 While a side comment or inappropriate physical contact may seem irrelevant to some, these actions may be meaningful to the subject and wear on their mental health. If sexism were reduced, we may also see a decline in mental health problems.

The Effects of Gender Discrimination on Mental Health & Addiction

Unfortunately, the negative effects of gender discrimination on mental health may also eventually lead to a substance abuse problem. As people struggle to deal with their mental health appropriately, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to try and self-medicate. Research suggests that racial and gender discrimination leads to significantly increased risk of alcohol abuse in women and drug abuse in men.3 Without co-occurring disorder treatment, this substance abuse often makes their mental health problems worse. This connection could account for the why mental health continues to decline as years pass.

No one should have to deal with a mental illness on their own. At Banyan Mental Health, we offer various mental health treatment programs that area designed to help patients not only better manage their symptoms, but work toward normal lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health problems, call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about how we may be able to help.


  1. UCL - High levels of sexism could be fuelling poor mental health among women
  2. NCBI - The Impact of Workplace Harassment on Health in a Working Cohort
  3. NCBI - Racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and substance abuse among Latina/os nationwide.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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