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Anxious? Who me, and two-thirds of women I know?

Anxious? Who me, and two-thirds of women I know?

By CASSANDRA CHARLESWORTH

A survey of over 15,000 Australian women has revealed two-thirds feel anxious or on edge, with women aged 18 to 35 most likely to feel the strain. Meanwhile, just under half have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
They're some interesting statistics that beg the question, what's going on with our mental health?


The study


Commissioned by the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health, the Australian Women's Survey was released to coincide with Women's Health Week, with 15,256 women aged 18 and older taking part.
Canvassing topics such as exercise, alcohol consumption and weight, the study was designed to gain insight into the health and wellbeing of women.
Perhaps the results relating to our mental health were the most revealing section of all, with statistics indicating we're stressed and struggling to address it.


The findings


In cold hard stat's, 66.9 per cent of women surveyed reported feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or on more than seven days in the past four weeks.
It may come as little surprise, but women aged 18-35 were more likely to feel ill at ease. Over 13 per cent said they were anxious almost every day, 18.8 per cent said they'd been anxious for more than seven days, and 47.7 per cent said they'd been anxious for several days over the past month.


Women aged 36-50 were not far behind, with only 27.2 per cent indicating they had no anxiety over the past four weeks.
When it came to the most comfortable age bracket, women aged 80 and above seemed the most content, with 55.7 per cent indicating they had no anxiety over the past month.
Meanwhile, almost half of all women (46.1 per cent) said they had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a doctor or psychologist
In the 36-50 age bracket, those statistics tipped to over half, with 50.1 per cent of women in this sector having been formally diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
Almost two third (63.8 per cent) of women also reported having trouble relaxing on at least several days in the past four weeks.


So, what are we doing about it?


Well, apparently not enough. Many are not taking enough time for ourselves.
More than one-third of women (34.3 per cent) reported not getting time to themselves on at least a weekly basis.
In the 36-50 age bracket, the answers were particularly telling. They were well ahead of other groups when it came to catering to others full-time, with 7.2 per cent noting they never took time for themselves.
Just over three per cent said they took time once a year, 16.3 per cent said several times a year, 19.6 per cent said monthly, 36.9 per cent said weekly, and 16.8 per cent said daily.
The upshot is over a quarter (26.7 per cent) of women aged 36-50 did not take time out for a bath, a night out with friends, watching a movie or something they chose to do for themselves, at least monthly.
If ever you needed permission, these statistics clearly provide it…draw that bath, take that moment, say yes to the movie with a friend. We're not placing enough emphasis on our mental health, and many of us are feeling the effect.


Do you have a story to share? Are you taking time out and in what way?
CASSANDRA CHARLESWORTH

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her loungeroom floor and creating stylish Barbie attire from all manner of household objects are just a couple of credentials she’s recently added to her resume.

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