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Women’s mental health as a public health priority: a call for action

Sergio A. Silverio (Department of Women and Children’s Health, King's College London, London, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 18 December 2020

Issue publication date: 1 April 2021




This paper aims to call the public health and mental health communities to action by making women’s mental health a public health priority.


This conceptual paper introduces a “Female Psychology” approach to framing and interpreting mental health narratives and public health discourses. It also draws upon lifecourse research as a way of better understanding mental illness.


This paper calls for action to prioritise women’s mental health on the public health agenda like has never previously been done before.

Research limitations/implications

New theoretical bases for research and practice are presented, encouraging the adoption of a “Female Psychology” approach to women’s lifecourses and mental health narratives.

Practical implications

Suggestions for changes to how we view, diagnose and treat women’s mental health are incorporated, ensuring women’s mental health narratives are placed firmly at the centre of their care and support.

Social implications

Women’s mental health has long been marginalised and dismissed as exaggerated and/or insignificant, and therefore has not had the economic-, personnel- and time-resource allocated to it, which it so desperately requires. This paper aims to tip the imbalance.


This paper, though conceptual, offers “Female Psychology” as both a practical and pragmatic approach to improving women’s mental health research, practice, and care. It is the first of its kind to, so directly, call the public health and mental health communities to prioritise women’s mental health.



Sergio A. Silverio (King’s College London) is supported by the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South London [NIHR ARC South London] at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.


Silverio, S.A. (2021), "Women’s mental health as a public health priority: a call for action", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 60-68.



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