Treatment Barriers Women Face

In doing direct practice, I see women being discriminated against, and it is recognized as a major issue within the industry, but not much has changed to correct this pressing issue in my years of clinical work. Women, for the most part, must exclude their children from treatment, and treatment providers don't offer daycare or services geared to the needs of a woman. It is common for an agency to focus on adults or children, and the agencies that do work with both are usually overwhelmed with the demand placed on them. Through my travel throughout New Mexico, I rarely come across an agency that can conduct treatment services to a woman and allow her children to be present and involved in healthy activity as their mother is receiving therapy. If insurance carriers would cover these expenses or our state direct funding to help reduce this problem, we'd see more women getting treatment and having better outcomes.

I see women oppressed because they can't say they have a mental illness, or they are an alcoholic. If they do, they are immediately labeled, shamed, and jeopardize losing their kids or self-worth. Women aren't permitted to have these disorders without being judged. A male doesn't face the same identified problems, and this doesn't equate to just treatment that is deserved by a woman seeking help. Shouldn't a woman be commended and supported that they have chosen to receive treatment? Why do we allow any system to discourage a woman from making a sound decision that will eventually benefit her children as well? This type of thinking must be overturned if we are going to remove barriers that will continue to hinder women from getting access to proper care.

Culture and society impact gender role expectations through cultural norms that can influence how we see this problem. Gender is a social construct that can have a community assigning specific roles to gender and placing certain expectations and behaviors on females. The method for females developing a gender strategy for problem-solving happens with their learned beliefs. We then have a responsibility to remove the inequalities that are known to be present in our flawed system of care. The women's movement and feminism helped women to make strides to gain equality by beginning with a voice. Barriers to treatment need to go past talking about them, and our government officials need to place funding and resources to eliminate them.

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