As more and more women suffer from mental health issues, it is important we take steps to ensure good mental health.
According to data released by Friends First, there has been an increase in the number of women claiming income protection for mental health conditions such as depression. In fact, over half of claims for psychiatric conditions are being made by females with only 36% of claims in this area coming from men.
Dr. Ciara Kelly, from Carrig Clinic GP Surgery in Greystones, believes that while mental health issues in general have increased, she has noticed an increase in stress and anxiety suffered by her female patients.
While one of the reasons for this increase can be blamed on an imbalance in their work/home life, it is not just women in full time employment who are feeling the effects of stress.  
In fact, according to Dr. Kelly, women who don’t go out to work are also affected as they struggle to cope with the demands of their kids and homelife, even if they had a  “high flying job” before having kids.
While there is no particular age category of women who are experiencing these symptoms, Dr Kelly has noticed that the “squeezed generation” - those with young children and elderly parents to care for – are being particularly affected.
It is important that mums look after their mental health, so keep an eye out for symptoms that include long periods of stress, disturbed sleep patterns, low confidence, falling out with loved ones and a decrease in libido. Dr. Kelly recommends women contact their GP if they are feeling any of these symptoms for more than four to six weeks. 
Maintaining a good lifestyle is key to ensuring good mental health and Dr Kelly, who is a firm believer of this, suggests women get at least eight hours of sleep a night consume a healthy diet and exercise, in particular aerobic exercises. She also says that talking about any issues with family, friends or even a professional will help women who are feeling overwhelmed.
Looking after your mental health is  just as important as looking after the rest of your body.