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Critically Analyze the Connection Between Mental Health and Gender


Men and women both reported worse feelings of cognitive health and well-being following the epidemic than they had before. While women having claimed worse mental health as of April 2020, this was also true before the pandemic, when women’s mental health first began to deteriorate at a greater rate than men. In some circumstances, evidence reveals that women’s psychological state and well-being improved more quickly than men’s after the initial deterioration of mental health and well-being.

Gender differences in mental health were found in the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. In 2014, 19.1% of women and 17% of men reported a common mental illness (12.2 per cent). Additionally, women were more likely than males to report having experienced symptoms that were severe (9.8 percent of women, compared with 6.4 percent of men). These disparities may be widening with time, as evidenced by similarities with APMS surveys dating back to 1993. In April and May 2020, there is evidence that women’s mental health and well-being deteriorated more than men’s in the wake of the epidemic. Data from the same cohorts of persons, collected both before and after the epidemic, has been used in other studies to support this claim. According to this research, adults’ reported predictor of psychological distress (as determined by the GHQ-12) rose from 24.3% in 2017 to 37.8% in April, with females experiencing a 6.9% higher risk than males.

As a result of the quarantine, women reported higher levels of psychological distress than men prior to and during the lockdown. Compared to the general population, women’s GHQ-12 scores increased by 0.9 scale points between 2017 and 2019 and April 2020, and the percentage of women aged 16 to 24 grew by 2.5 percentage points more than predicted had there been no global epidemic. More women in the 30-year-old age category felt emotional distress during the lockdown than had previously been observed, according to a recent study.

Gender and Mental Health in Prisons

The prevalence of mental illness among inmates exceeds that of the regular populace (Fazel et al., 2017). Mental health treatment in British jails is poor, as per a recent National Audit Office (2017) audit, which identified a lack of equivalence with community services. There has been a significant shift in mental and social functioning of British prisoners since the last major epidemiological study in 1997, and both the National Audit Office Report (2017) and recently revised NICE guidelines (2017) call for a new study on the mental health of people in criminal justice systems (The Office of National Statistics).

Study after study has focused on scanning for individual irregularities (or clusters of diseases) in a small number of organisations since the ONS survey, and those studies have undertaken several in-depth evaluations of multiple disorders and obtained information more than decade ago (Bebbington et al. 2017). In recent decades, the criminal justice system and other mental health care methods have undergone significant modifications. Having a current picture of the mental health requirements of inmates is essential to planning and implementing efficient treatment in these settings (Jakobowitz et al., 2017).

If all individuals have a gender identity that matches the one allocated to them at birth is the foundation of prison systems (Rodgers et al., 2017). Prison officials frequently use pre-operative/non-operative states or legal gender recognition when making placement decisions (UNDP, 2020). For transgender inmates, there are many options for where they should be housed: binary classification, general population facilities, special housing for transgender inmates (such as specialised pods/wings), or a case-by-case approach that considers their gender identity and safety before assigning them (Brömdal et al., 2019; Van Hout et al. 2020). Security and safety and protecting transgender convicts (e.g., sexual compulsion and assault) and fellow inmates (e.g., the deployment of trans-women in female wings) must be weighed in these complicated considerations. In addition, many transgender inmates describe ongoing distress in using specialised wings, which accommodate all inmates deemed fragile (McCauley et al., 2018). Jails in more progressive jurisdictions, such as Australia (New South Wales and Victoria), Canada, Malta, and Scotland, allow inmates to self-identify as gender nonconforming, and the United Kingdom, Italy, and Thailand have prisons specifically for transgender inmates (UNDP, 2020).

The effects of transphobic violence and trauma are exacerbated in prison. Assaults by fellow inmates and correctional officers (sexual coercion, rape), lack of access to gender-appropriate clothing and other items, and refusal by correctional officers of access to identity-affirming medical care (e.g., endocrine treatment and surgery) are all forms of maltreatment (UNDP, 2020). People who have been in solitary confinement for an extended period of time are more likely to attempt self-harm (such as self-mutilation, auto-castration, or suicide) (Van Hout et al., 2020). Some nations (Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Malta, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and states in the United States have jail laws that support gender neutrality and courteous language for transgender inmates (UNDP 2020) This is not the situation in many countries. When it comes to providing medical care to transgender detainees, prison medical professionals are woefully underprepared.

People who identify as transgender in jail must have access to the medical care and counselling, they need to live healthy lives, and that’s what our organisation, the World Professional Association for Transgender Healthcare, is working to achieve. A freeze-frame strategy, in which access to medical assistance is maintained at about the same level as it was before incarceration, or a continuation approach, in which the dosage is adjusted in light of medical consultations, are two approaches that certain countries adopt (UNDP, 2020). Only a handful of states and provinces provide the same amount of public access to GRS as the rest of the United States and Canada (Australia, the UK, and the US). Additionally, when transgender people acquire their hormone treatment through the web or illegal sites, prisoners may not have accessibility to the professionals they require, making it impossible to offer medical care while they are in jail.

Lack of Mental Health Studies on Genders

Approximately 5% of the 85,000 inmates in Wales and England are female. The number of women in jail has increased from 1,562 in 1992 to 3,975 in 2017, even though this is only a small percentage of the total prison population (MoJ, 2018a). In addition, women account for 10% of those sentenced to jail each year, indicating a high percentage of those incarcerated for short periods. In 2017, there were 8,474 people in this category (MoJ, 2018b).

When it comes to their physical and emotional well-being, women in the judicial system have unique difficulties and requirements (Anders et al., 2017). Women in jail have considerable health and well-being disparities compared to their peers outside of prison and men. One study found that the burden of clinical manifestations among women in jail was twice that of men (Tyler et al., 2019).

In contrast to the general population, self-harm and suicide in jails are far more significant (WHO, 2007). There were just under half as many attempts at suicide among British female prisoners as there were male inmates, even though female inmates make up only 5% of those incarcerated (MoJ, 2017). There is evidence that chronic medical diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis are more common in female prisoners than male prisoners (Anders et al., 2017). According to a recent study, almost half of the female prisoners report having a drug issue when they first arrive in prison (Binswanger et al., 2010), according to a recent study (Light et al., 2013). Over half (53 per cent), nearly one-third (32 per cent) of female offenders reported having been abused or neglected as children; these social risk factors contribute to the health challenges that women in prison face (Williams et al., 2012). Moreover, two-thirds of those who had been abused said they had been sexually assaulted. Regarding their health and well-being, women in jail often have primary caregiving duties and demands that must be considered.

Even though the UK’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) regulates both male and female prisons under the same set of laws and policies, working with female inmates has unique requirements that must be met by female prisons (Gov.UK., 2017). This vulnerable group does not currently have a set of gender-specific guidelines for the health and wellbeing of women in jail that recognise and account for their specific requirements when constructing the prison human health and environmental interventions.

Policymakers from both the United States and worldwide have a strong interest in addressing this issue. In 2010, the United Nations released the Bangkok Rules, detailing global gender-specific requirements for women in jail. An article written by Van den Bergh et al. (2014) for the World Health Organization focuses on how prisons can better support women’s health by addressing their unique healthcare needs and ensuring a system of care that is gender-sensitive while also recognising their right to self-determination and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. According to the National Commission on Correctional Health Care’s Standards for Health Services, women should be treated as a distinct demographic and given adequate care. Several international standards primarily address the healthcare needs of women (NCCHC, 2014). The vulnerability of female offenders in the UK was emphasised in the Prison Safety, and Reform White Paper published in November 2016 (MoJ and National Offender Management Service, 2016). Several studies have shown this to be true (Harner and Riley, 2013).

Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that women who have already been imprisoned should be included in health service research. There is recognition of women’s mental health needs in 2017’s response to the government’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (FYFV) (Department of Health et al., 2017). Change in England’s prison system will require collaboration between national corporations involved in providing the complicated care and support needs of those housed there. By signing a National Partnership Agreement for Prison Healthcare in England this year, NHS England, HMPPS, MoJ, and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will demonstrate their collaborative effort to cooperative relationships and shared accountability for service delivery via interconnected governance structures. In 2018, this contract was inked. In addition, it lays out the most important goals and tasks that must be accomplished (Public Health England, 2018).

Gender Bias in the Medical System

It is possible to have social prejudices that are either implicit or explicit. In a sense, implicit biases are a kind of unconscious and automatic behaviour that takes place without the agent’s cognitive awareness. Implicit assessments, such as Implicit Association Tests (IAT) tests, are best to measure these traits. a note in the text Measures like verbal self-reports can be used to explore implicit biases, which can be more easily controlled (Devine, 1989). According to this widely held belief in social psychology, cognitive and affective biases can be classified into two categories. Whether direct and indirect attitudes share the exact fundamental representations is still up for debate. Despite this, their separation has been well documented, so even those who expressly hold just somewhat negative sentiments against a social circle may be implicitly strongly biased (Banaji and Heiphetz 2010).

There are several implicit biases, such as stereotypes and negative feelings toward a specific social group. Associating members of a particular social group with qualities that may or may not be predominant in that group is sometimes referred to as an implicit stereotype. For illustration’s sake, black men’s athleticism, for example, or women’s mathematical incompetence (Amodio and Devine 2006). Members of a social group are the object of implicit affective judgments, which can be either positive or negative (Amodio and Devine 2006). There is just a small link between unconscious stereotyping and unfavourable emotional judgments. As a result, those who are easily provoked into having a negative affective judgement of a member of a specific social group may not have readily accessible preconceptions about that group.

When stereotypes about a specific group are not triggered, such individuals may engage in avoidance behaviour, such as looking uncomfortable, that is generally driven by unconscious negative affective assessments (Amodio and Devine 2006). This is not meant to minimise the fact that men have a disproportionately poor experience with the healthcare system, particularly in mental health. Race and poverty are also factors that contribute to healthcare bias. In medicine, however, there is no dearth of ways in which women are prejudiced against Aristotle’s contrast between male “form” and female “matter,” as well as mediaeval views that women (“leaky vessels”) were unbalanced because of their wombs, are all examples of this throughout history. For centuries, doctors prescribed marriage as a treatment for female psychiatric problems, and the Victorians had an unpleasant tendency of putting women in asylums, regardless of proof that they were ill. Female GPs (52 percent to 48 percent) currently outnumber male GPs (55% of registered medical practitioners). Moreover, 66 percent of specialists are men, as well.

There is a common misconception amongst patients that men are less concerned about their health than women, are less sensitive to symptoms, and do not go to the doctor as frequently. As a result, men are the silent stoics; women are the hysterical hypochondriacs.

An investigation conducted by the House of Lords found that the outcomes for women in several studies were consistently worse. When it comes to dementia, female patients receive less medical attention than male patients, make fewer visits to the doctor’s office, and are more likely to take potentially dangerous medications. This was revealed by researchers at University College London in 2016.

Women, especially young women, are more likely to suffer from common mental health issues than males, although men account for nearly three-quarters of suicide deaths. The inequities begin long before a woman ever steps foot in a doctor’s office. The number of women participating in clinical trials is consistently lower than that of men participating in clinical trials. As a result, medical research conducted by women for women receives less financing than medical research conducted by men for men. Healthcare is “systematically discriminating against women,” Caroline Criado Perez writes in her book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. Her tireless effort confirms this, as she states in her book. Even among healthcare workers, sexism is still pervasive. Even though most of the NHS workforce is female, men working in NHS trusts are still compensated more than their female colleagues.

It is all over the place, from GPs dismissing women’s discomfort to people fighting access to the menopause medications they need on the NHS. For example, the repercussions can be devastating. Several decades of healthcare crises have been blamed on an arrogant culture of dismissing major medical issues as “women’s problems,” a government investigation determined in June 2020.


The prevalence of mental health concerns among inmates in the United Kingdom remains high. The number of people in prison has climbed considerably over the past 20 years, even though prevalence rates have remained stable. According to the current study, many inmates screened positive for two or more ailments, indicating a high level of comorbidity. Prison mental health services only provided treatment to around half of the individuals with a pre-existing diagnosis of a psychological disorder, and the amount of unmet current healthcare needs were significant. According to a study, females appeared to have higher total mental health needs than males, but they appeared to be better satisfied with access to resources. Gender disparities in healthcare, on the other hand, run deep. Even in ancient Greece, women were regarded as less essential in healthcare than men. The government has now recognised the need for system-wide adjustments to address “decades of gender health inequity.” It is critical that healthcare providers and the patients they serve to recognise gender prejudice and its impact on patient care. Recognizing our prejudices and responding appropriately to unlearn them is the only way to stop perpetuating inequality. The number of women participating in clinical research funded by the National Institutes of Health has increased significantly (NIH). Although this does not include all studies and does not include decades of study that solely involved males, it is a good starting point. All relevant studies must include a diverse range of genders and sexes, and health organisations and academics must commit to funding research to fill in the information gaps.


Anders, P., Jolley, R. and Leaman, J. (2017), “Rebalancing act: a resource for directors of public health, police and crime commissioners, the police service and other health and justice commissioners, service providers and users (Online)”, available at: (accessed 06 April 2022)

Brömdal, A., Clark, K.A., Hughto, J.M.W., Debattista, J., Phillips, T.M., Mullens, A.B., Gow, J. and Daken, K. (2019), “Whole-incarceration-setting approaches to supporting and upholding the rights and health of incarcerated transgender people”, International Journal of Transgenderism, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 341-350.

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Fazel S, Hayes AJ, Bartellas K, Clerici M, Treatman R (2016) The mental health of prisoners: a review of prevalence, adverse outcomes, and interventions. Lancet Psychiatry 3:871–881

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McCauley, E., Eckstrand, K., Desta, B., Bouvier, B., Brockmann, B. and Brinkley-Rubinstein, L. (2018), “Exploring healthcare experiences for incarcerated individuals who identify as transgender in a Southern jail”, Transgender Health, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 34-41.

MoJ (2017), “Safety in custody statistics quarterly update to March 2017”, Ministry of Justice, available at: (accessed 06 April 2022)

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Rodgers, J., Asquith, N.L. and Dwyer, A. (2017), CIS normativity, Criminalisation, Vulnerability: Transgender People in Prisons, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

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Van Hout, M.C., Hillis, A. and Kewley, S. (2020), “Contemporary transgender health experience and health situation in prisons: a scoping review of extant published literature (2000-2019)”, International Journal of Transgender Health, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 258-306

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