The Psychology of Gender and Health - Chapter 12 - Mainstreaming Gender Equality to Improve Women’s Mental Health in England

Elsevier, The Psychology of Gender and Health: Conceptual and Applied Global Concerns, 2017, Pages 343-361
Karen Newbigging

Two approaches to addressing women's mental health issues emerged in England from the 1970s onwards. The initial efforts were on the provision of woman-centered alternatives to mainstream mental health services, including psychology and psychiatry. The past 20 years have seen initiatives to reform mainstream services to increase their sensitivity to the needs of women and to provide gender-specific services, which offer women safety and enable them to address particular issues in relation to abuse, for example. This gained momentum with policy initiatives in England in the early 2000s and for nearly 10 years provided a focus for service development in mental health. In this chapter, I consider the origins of mainstreaming as a national policy initiative in England, describe the initiatives that were promoted and reflect on both the progress that was made and its limitations. I conclude with the implications for mainstreaming as an approach to transforming psychiatry, psychology, and mental health services by promoting gender equality.