AtEase is an inclusive mental health platform for all genders. AtEase experts are further specialized in addressing the mental health issues faced by women (cis & trans) and non-binary individuals keeping in mind the unique challenges they face in the society. Gender discrimination can be a huge factor that affects mental well-being resulting in depression, anxiety or any other challenges. There are small and big ways, subtle and obvious ways in which gender affects day to day life. Treatment at work, unequal pay as well as unequal opportunities, the additional burden of housework, experiences of violence both in public or private spaces are all part of how women and non-binary individuals experience the world.
Mental health is intersectional. It is shaped by a variety of things such as our experiences of developmental stages, mental health conditions, gender and sexuality, our interactions with people at home and workplace.
In mental health conditions, an individual's emotions, behaviours, actions, thoughts, and even bodily functions are affected. Mental health problems often require extra support, care, and treatment to feel better. Though people across backgrounds and with diverse lived experiences can experience mental health problems, people from marginalized genders, with low incomes, minority religions, and marginalised sexual orientations and disabilities are more likely to experience mental health conditions or problems. An individual is more likely to experience these conditions due to certain risk factors including biological, genetic, trauma, and social factors such as discrimination.
Our team of experts can support people experiencing mental health conditions, such as:
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress. However, sometimes worrying can be very disruptive to everyday functioning. Many who live with anxiety have incessant thoughts like - ‘Did I close the door?’, ‘Did I do that interview well?’, ‘Will I ever get another job?’, ‘I am sure they are angry because I misspoke. Maybe my boss will fire me today because I am worthless.’
These repetitive thoughts or doubts contribute to heightened or extreme tension and worry. This results in difficulty doing even simple tasks without intrusive and overwhelming fears. These anxious thoughts can consume and make it very difficult for an individual to engage in and complete tasks.
There are a range of anxiety disorders including Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and more. One of the forms of anxiety disorders includes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder where the person experiences continuous, repetitive thoughts and fears that often lead to compulsive behaviors like washing something over and over or repeating an action in a ritualized manner. An individual with OCD feels compelled to perform these tasks or fear dire consequences for not doing so.
Anyone can feel sad at times. It is a common part of our lives. Mood disorders however are more intense and more difficult to manage. In a mood disorder, your emotions can fluctuate a lot and often make everyday life harder to live. Getting out of bed in the mornings can be hard. Motivating oneself to work, cook, clean, or even have a bath can be a struggle. Concentrating on things to be done can seem impossible. Sometimes it can be difficult to eat and sleep regularly. You might not be able to do tasks you enjoyed previously. In simple terms, your emotional state or mood can prevent you from living your life the way you wish to.
Depression is a common mood disorder. Depression presents itself differently in different people. Some might not be able to sleep at all while others may sleep for extended periods of time. Some might find it difficult to eat any food while some others might binge eat. In mood disorders, these feelings and experiences can persist and result in people feeling worthless, hopeless, and even inadequate.
On the other hand, a person with Bipolar Disorder experiences unusual and severe mood changes. Sometimes they have a lot of energy and experience highs and other times they have intense feelings of sadness and depression. These mood changes can switch very suddenly, sometimes in the same week and other times with a gap in between. These sudden changes or continuous changes in moods can make it very difficult for a person to not feel the disruptions in their day-to-day lives. They might feel the need to ‘make up' for the depressive periods during their high moments.
For some people, the period after childbirth can be particularly rough. Following childbirth, the birthing individual can often struggle with a lot of anxiety, irritability, and can feel intense sadness that lasts for long periods of time. It usually sets in a week or so after childbirth and hence is called Postpartum Depression. Many birthing individuals experience postpartum depression that makes everyday functioning especially looking after the child very hard. The birthing individual can also have many intrusive thoughts, feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy, difficulty sleeping, and more. These changes can make the birthing individual feel dejected and unable to function or bond with their child.
Personality is a part of how an individual thinks, behaves and feels. This is influenced by many different things. Sometimes your personality may be severely affected by paranoia, intense anxiety and a lot of emotional reactions. Individuals with personality disorders might experience severe mood swings along with a changing understanding of how they see themselves and their role in the world.
When someone lives with a personality disorder, they struggle with unhealthy patterns of thinking and being. Many of them often participate in risky behaviours like reckless driving, spending sprees or even self-harming behaviours. They also experience difficulty in anger management or feel abandoned by those around them. These experiences make it difficult to function and deeply affect relationships with other people, especially friends, family and partners.
Eating disorders are conditions where individuals have a difficult relationship with eating and food. Struggling with body image, weight and self-esteem are a part of these conditions. Sometimes one eats a lot and cannot stop eating. Other times individuals find it very difficult to eat and can starve themselves. And in other conditions, individuals eat a lot of food but after this, they force themselves to eject it out. These conditions can be difficult to manage and cause a lot of distress in the individual. Though they seem to revolve around eating, eating disorders affect every aspect of the individual’s life and require care and treatment. Anorexia nervosa (obsessing about what you eat and your weight), bulimia nervosa (marked by binge eating and methods to avoid weight gain) are a few kinds of common eating disorders.
Trauma related disorders:
Sometimes, when people go through an accident or are victims of violence/ abuse of any kind - emotional, physical, economic, their body and mind react in different ways. Your body might freeze at that moment. You might break down and cry. You may also experience numbness or sensory overload. The traumatic event results in stress and heightened fear and anxiety. Our body reacts to protect itself. But sometimes, this safety response of the body can last long even after the traumatic event has ended. This can also be one of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The trauma stays in the body and significantly affects mental health.
How people experience PTSD varies widely. Some might have difficulty concentrating, and sleeping. Some might have repetitive replaying of the unwanted memories. Some might sleep for extended periods of time whereas some might disengage from the world. One may feel stressed or frightened even after the event has passed. These experiences of the body and mind can result in long term changes in the body.
There are a few severe mental health conditions like schizophrenia where individuals tend to hear voices or experience hallucinations that appear very real. A person with schizophrenia when experiencing a hallucination can find it very difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what they are experiencing. This condition often results in other experiences of depression, low self-worth, interpersonal conflicts and high anxiety. It is a mental health condition that is often long term and can be better managed with therapy and medication.
Our AtEase experts are equipped to work with people experiencing a wide range of mental health conditions. We will support you in the process of understanding and managing the symptoms you are experiencing - whether you have a formal psychiatric diagnosis or not. Reach out to an expert if any of these symptoms seem familiar to you.
Everyone experiences mental health concerns in some form or the other. But some people are far more vulnerable to mental health problems than others. What makes this difference so clear? On looking more closely, we see that gender and gender roles have a huge role to play in how we experience the world. They affect how we behave, react, engage with each other and more. For example, some genders, especially cis-women and transwomen tend to cross the street when they see a group approaching them. Women and non-binary individuals are often very vigilant about how they dress in public, how they behave, lest they attract too much attention. These actions may seem small and frivolous but they add up. There are of course several other experiences too. Such as, caregiving. This is a role which is often shouldered by those who are assigned female at birth like returning home early from outings, or staying home instead of going out to look after their younger siblings or elderly, sick people in the household. Supporting in running the household can be an additional pressure. These stressors or burdens can lead to a higher risk for mental health problems.
Due to the high pressures in society, especially within families for women and non-binary indiviudals who are assigned female at birth, they are expected to ‘power through’ any mental health concerns or problems. People around may call them weak or too sensitive or incapable of handling themselves which makes it harder to reach out for help. There is also a fear that mental health concerns will be dismissed as not important especially because they are invisible. This leads to burnout, or exhaustion or severe mental health concerns. All of this can take a toll on emotional and physical well-being.
If you are facing any kind of issues at home or in your relationships that are causing distress, reach out to us.
Many women and non-binary individuals experience a lot of uncomfortable remarks and comments about how they dress, how they should behave and look even at the workplace. This can be troubling and sometimes intolerable. According to a 2015 report of 27,715 trans individuals in the US, 77% have to hide their gender identity and delay their transition to avoid mistreatment at work. Additionally, 67% reported negative outcomes such as being fired, not being hired and being denied a promotion.
Women and non-binary individuals are also often not paid the same salaries as their male counterparts. For transwomen and non-binary individuals the experience of being misgendered, or mistreated can be overwhelming and it can reduce the motivation to return to work. The casual jokes about women, about gender and other workplace banter that is gendered can be demeaning and further affect their mental health .
In several workplaces, women and non-binary individuals struggle to be seen, heard and offered responsibilities that are aligned with their skills. This is because of the subtle and overt ways in which gender plays a role. All of this impacts mental and emotional well-being. For married individuals, especially for those who return to work after the postpartum leave, there can be additional problems like navigating assumptions about their work commitment, level and quality of performance and more. These ideas of women’s and non-binary individuals’ roles and how these assumptions play out in the workplace can cause harm to their mental health. These experiences become worse for those from marginalised caste backgrounds, minority religions and those living with disabilities.
AtEase is focused on understanding how these lived experiences and realities impact mental health of women and non-binary individuals. Our experts are open to understanding this phenomenon and improve the social and working experience for women and non-binary individuals.
Let’s discuss and understand why sensitization around sex, gender, and sexuality are quintessential as well as why it is important in understanding mental well-being.
For people who identify as LGBTQIA+ (including but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual), social and environmental factors play a huge role in increasing their vulnerability to mental health conditions. The National Alliance of Mental Illness in the United States estimates that LGBTQIA+ individuals are three times more likely to have a mental health condition (major depression/ generalized anxiety disorder) and four times at risk of attempting suicide or having thoughts about suicide. In India, LGBTQIA+ individuals are more vulnerable due to the interaction of gender and sexuality with marginalized castes, class, religions, etc.
Many LGBTQIA+ individuals are more vulnerable to mental health problems because of the bullying, harassment and discrimination they experience on a daily basis; the dysphoria they might feel in their bodies; the isolation faced by the community and the stigma associated with being queer. Many of them fear ‘coming out’ to the world because of these factors and can struggle because of this too.
If you identify as Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Trans*, Non-Binary individual or belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, there is a high possibility of experiencing challenges that may look identical but are distinctly different from heterosexual people.
Note: The asterisk (*) is used to include gender identities broader than transsexual and transgender. For example, identities like gender-fluid, agender, bi-gender and for those whose identity resembles but is not limited to these terms.
Reproductive lifespan starts from the onset of one’s menstrual cycle and lasts till menopause. Bodies of women and non-binary individuals assigned female at birth undergo a lot of physical and hormonal changes during the years of an active menstrual cycle and especially during pregnancy and after childbirth. Pregnancy and postpartum period are crucial in an individual’s life and maintaining good emotional health during this period is very important. But, the majority of times a birthing individual's emotional health is not recognized and addressed.
Studies have shown that 10-30% of birthing individuals from developing countries will experience depression during or after childbirth. This drastic impact on the mental health of the birthing individual has shown to increase the risk of poor infant nutrition and also impact the infant’s mental health. The mental health of birthing individuals is also directly affected by their own negative experiences of perinatal loss, birth-related trauma, gender discrimination and violence.
An expectant individual experiences a lot of changes in their body during the period of pregnancy. They might experience nausea, vomiting, weight gain and even increase in heart rate. Alongside this, they also experience drastic hormonal changes which could affect their mood. The expectant individual can also have a lot of anxious thoughts about childbirth and their parenting journey ahead.
However, if these anxious thoughts persist and do not subside; if one is constantly feeling restless, irritable or on edge; if one is experiencing panic attacks or is overwhelmed with fear; you can reach out to one of our experts.
Most birthing individuals feel low and tired for a while after giving birth. This experience is called postpartum blues. This experience usually gets better within a few weeks. However, for some individuals the feelings of sadness, anxiety, and gloom persist longer. These can be some of the signs of postpartum depression. If this experience of gloom persists, reaching out to a mental health professional is highly recommended .
Perinatal loss is the loss of a foetus after conception and shortly after birth. The grief experienced by the families at such times, especially by the birthing individual, is very high. During this process, the parents may experience drastic changes in their eating and sleeping patterns, and a lower quality of life. They also may experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and many other mental health issues. If these experiences resonate with you, you can reach out to us.
Experiencing infertility related challenges can take a huge toll on an individual’s and their partner’s mental health. Infertility can affect one’s stress levels, their relationship with their body and their partner, interactions with their families and friends. These challenges are often experienced in silence as others may suggest you to keep trying. These suggestions that are often given with best intentions can sometimes invalidate your lived experience. AtEase experts understand the nuances of infertility challenges and we are here to support you.