I have a weekly Google Search Alert set for “women’s mental health” and every week when the search results are emailed to me, there are only one or two websites or articles where the topic has come up. The most recent events have not even been located in the U.S., they were in the UK and Canada. I read the notice on the My Kawartha, Canada website about a free local community event specifically addressing the topic of women and mental health. This event features a well-known Canadian radio host, Shelagh Rogers, who will lead a conversation about women’s mental health based on her own experiences with depression.
I read and reread the article and even sent an email to Shelagh Rogers expressing my enthusiasm for her community event on women’s mental health. I told her, “We need events like yours in this country!” I didn’t hear back from her, but I kept wondering why there is so little attention given to women’s and young women’s mental health issues in this country. The following week I received my Google Search results and there was a link to a website sponsored by Dr. Oz called Sharecare. In December 2013, Sharecare released their Top Ten List of Social HealthMakers on Mental Health. The key words that came from this site and caused the article to show up in my search results were “women” and “mental health.” It turns out that Julie Hanks, a licensed psychotherapist from Utah, was listed as the #2 most influential mental health expert on the web.
Wonderful! I had found an expert in the field of women’s mental health who also has a strong online presence. I mulled these findings over and over in my head for the next few days, when it suddenly occurred to me that it might be possible to organize our own women’s mental health conversation in this country! What a great idea! Shelagh Rogers’ event was local, but it would also be possible to hold online conversations with mental health experts that specifically address women’s and young women’s mental health issues. In-person events would be even better, maybe in collaboration with a local NAMI chapter.
This is my idea to start addressing issues related to women’s and young women’s mental health. If anyone out there would like to help coordinate, participate or otherwise get involved, please drop me a line. I’m definitely open to suggestions!