Welcome to the opening symposium of Uppsala University’s Centre for Women’s Mental Health during the Reproductive Lifespan – Womher. On 26 April, an online event will mark the official opening of the new centre. The event will include brief presentations from both international researchers and researchers from across the disciplinary domains at Uppsala University.
Mental health is becoming one of the largest and most costly societal issues of our time. Globally, over 300 million persons are affected by mental illnesses like depression. Women are especially hard hit in this regard.
Uppsala University established a centre for women’s mental health, Womher – Women’s Mental Health during the Reproductive Lifespan – in December 2019. Its aim is to understand, prevent, and treat the increasing incidence of poor mental health among women, particularly those of childbearing age.
“The increasing incidence of mental illness in the population is highest among women, particularly among younger women. This is clearly a cause for concern. We have long recognised that mental health issues present differently in men and women. Many more women are affected by depression and anxiety, while men more often have problems related to alcohol and drugs,” says Lisa Ekselius, professor in psychiatry and director of Womher. “Issues that occur during the childbearing years have a great influence on a woman’s life, in both a societal perspective and for gender equality. Susceptibility to poor mental health and mental illness increases both during pregnancy and after giving birth.”
Contributing knowledge across disciplines
Womher is a long-term project, drawing on both domestic and international expertise.
“The broad competence base at Uppsala University affords us great opportunities to contribute to the field with multi-disciplinary knowledge. Through Womher, we intend to address the wide-reaching national and international societal challenges from the increasing incidence of poor mental health among women. The University’s disciplinary breadth is one of our great strengths, and we are using it to create a broad international network that can highlight different perspectives. Through the University’s newly inaugurated research school, we are educating a new generation of researchers who can and will make a difference.”
The Womher network has developed several overarching 10-year objectives. One of them is increasing knowledge and awareness to promote women’s mental health. Other objectives include developing and implementing new methods for diagnostics, prevention, treatment, and monitoring. The centre also aims to become an interdisciplinary knowledge base and provide advisory services to schools, health care facilities, student health services, social services, public agencies, employers, legislators and other interested parties. A major point of focus will be cooperating with relevant target groups, such as patients and their relatives.
Online inaugural symposium
The opening ceremony, which was supposed to be held in April of last year, was delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now the time has come to officially open the centre with an online symposium on 26 April. The event will include brief presentations by both international researchers and researchers from across the disciplinary domains at Uppsala University