Youth Corner
Credits Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank
Published on May 13, 2021

It’s time to heal: Prioritizing our mental health and wellbeing as women

When we talk about violence, the immediate thing we think about is physical violence and the marks it leaves on its victims and survivors. This is because physical violence is graphic and can not pass unnoticed, therefore no one ever questions its existence or gaslights the victims. Unfortunately, violence has different faces and ways of showing up and affecting our lives.  

One of the most common types of aggressions we are subject to is emotional and psychological violence. This type of abuse affects women, having profound effects among the younger ones. Unfortunately, its consequences have been diminished by many people. 

We, as young women, are victims of this violence directly or indirectly. Most of us have experienced this type of abuse with a partner, in school, on social media, and even inside the workplace. As women, we are constant targets of threats, aggressions, and behaviors around us that affect our wellbeing and mental health. Often, these aggressions are masked as jokes or inoffensive comments. The truth is, their purpose is to be harmful and leave the victim powerless on her decisions and make her vulnerable. 

Psychological and emotional abuse further leads to mental health problems like anxiety, stress, depression, addictions, and other illnesses, affecting the victims' safety and interpersonal relations. By understanding these repercussions, we can therefore prioritize actions to eradicate this type of violence and support the victims during their healing process.

More than ever, we need to work to break mental health accessibility barriers for teenagers and women, especially the ones who live in vulnerable communities, so no one is left behind. We must open the conversation to break mental health stigma, raise awareness, enhance empathy and improve the accessibility to treatment and health care centers.

This is the moment for us, as young change-makers, to demand more counselors and psychologists in schools and universities. Further, we need to encourage companies and organizations to reinforce their human resources protocols and policies against gender-based harassment and mobbing inside the workplace. Moreover, we must continue to push for the implementation of mental health policies in countries, awareness programs on psychological violence and how to prevent it. Additionally, we need to stop being permissive of cyberbullying.

Our generation desires that by 2030, we live in a more equal and fair society, where all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres are eliminated, it is therefore imperative that environments are analyzed and red flags of all forms of abuse identified and acted upon. To all the victims out there, who are struggling to untangle from psychological or emotional abuse, you need to know you are not alone in this process, and seeking help is an act of self-love and the first step towards healing.