NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Office of the Surgeon General (US). Surgeon General's Workshop on Women's Mental Health: November 30-December 1, 2005, Denver, Colorado. Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2006.

Cover of Surgeon General's Workshop on Women's Mental Health

Surgeon General's Workshop on Women's Mental Health: November 30-December 1, 2005, Denver, Colorado.

Show details

Introduction: Background and Purpose of the Workshop

The Surgeon General’s Workshop on Women’s Mental Health was convened to bring together experts from the consumer, academic, advocacy, health care delivery, health insurance, program planning, and policy planning communities to address critical issues affecting the mental health of women and girls and make recommendations for the production of Surgeon General’s communiqués4 and toolkits. This workshop was part of a broader initiative, the Surgeon General’s Women’s Mental Health Project, designed to explore sex and gender differences in mental health and gain a better understanding of the role mental health plays in the overall health of our Nation’s women and girls. The initiative represents a joint project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of the Surgeon General, Office on Women’s Health (OWH), Office of Minority Health, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The Women’s Mental Health Project has consisted of several background activities, which have laid the groundwork for this workshop. These have included a concept mapping exercise; key-informant interviews with mental health experts and leaders; facilitated discussions with local providers, consumers, advocates, and decisionmakers; and a targeted literature review. The activities have led to the identification of major mental health issues for girls and women, which are recognized as being both high in importance and in action potential. These myriad issues have been grouped according to eight different cluster areas, encompassing personal, environmental, and health care system-related concerns. The cluster areas include:

  • Biological and developmental factors
  • Specific mental disorders
  • Trauma, violence, and abuse
  • Social stress factors and stigma
  • Treatment access and insurance
  • Identification and intervention issues
  • Health system issues
  • Protective factors and resilience

Each participant in the Surgeon General’s Workshop on Women’s Mental Health was assigned to a working group addressing one of these eight topics. Each working group was asked to review and prioritize the issues associated with their cluster area. (Note: A schematic representation of those areas and the issues which fall under them is included in Appendix A). They also were given the charge of developing recommendations for the production of Surgeon General’s communiqués and toolkits. For each cluster area, participants were specifically asked to choose three key priority issues to be addressed, describe the key messages, suggest a format for a product or toolkit, identify the audience, and highlight any cultural concerns or other cross-cutting issues.

To set the stage for the workshop discussions, participants were offered several plenary presentations, including a welcome and introduction by U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona. These presentations underscored the importance of women’s mental health not only to their own overall health, but also to the health and well-being of those around them and ultimately of our Nation as a whole. They highlighted the burden of mental disorders on the lives and productivity of individuals and revealed what we have learned about the interplay of sex and gender in the risk, course, and treatment of these disorders.

“We must truly listen to the stories women tell – turn to women survivors as experts. We must replace the question ‘What is wrong with you?’ with the question ‘What happened to you?’”

Rene Andersen, Center on Women, Violence, and Trauma

Participants were invited to become active partners, throughout this meeting and beyond, in the promotion of a mental health system that could address the mental health issues of women with an approach that is more consumer focused, recovery oriented, and focused on integrating all aspects of mental health with mainstream and primary health care.

The term “communiqué” was deliberately chosen to represent a broad array of potential products and materials.

Footnotes

4

The term “communiqué” was deliberately chosen to represent a broad array of potential products and materials.

PubReader format: click here to try

Views

  • PubReader
  • Print View
  • Cite this Page
  • PDF version of this title (558K)

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...