Strengthen families, strengthen communities …
Strengthen families strengthen communities ...
Invest in Women's Health
Leading up to the next State election it is important to be mindful of the important work undertaken by community services to enable people in Western Australia to achieve and sustain quality health outcomes.
Women’s community health services work with (particularly disadvantaged) women across six key areas:
- Mental health;
- Family and Domestic violence;
- Sexual and reproductive health;
- Alcohol and/or other drug use;
- Health promotion; and
- Education and training
Women’s mental, physical, sexual and reproductive health needs to be considered within multiple and interacting social, psychological and biological factors. Often, common experiences amongst women – such as gender inequity and gender based violence – can adversely affect women’s health outcomes.
Mental ill-health represents the leading cause of disability and the highest burden of non-fatal illnesses for women in Western Australia. Gender differences are evident in the onset, prevalence, diagnosis, trajectory, co-morbidity, treatment, prognosis and outcomes of mental health and depression. Barriers to treatment and support are compounded for women by the scarcity of women-only services or of services configured to meet the specific needs of women.
The findings of a recent survey of women’s health information needs, undertaken by the Jean Hailes Foundation, show strong support for women’s health services amongst women. Services are more effective when designed around the needs of users. A woman-centred approach builds upon this principle in a gendered way – and a growing body of research is testament to the tangible outcomes it can deliver. The long-term benefits are significant – for women, their children and families, for future generations and for whole communities.
Evidence shows that women achieve better health outcomes where strong and well-resourced women’s health services exist. It is in the interests of the next State Government to partner with Western Australian women’s health services in the development of strategies and actions to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of Western Australian women. This will, in turn, improve the health of the Western Australian population and reduce the burden of ill health and disease across the state.
Please take time to read the attached document ‘Investing in Women’s Health’ and the WA Peaks ‘Healthy Communities’ factsheet. It provides a snapshot of the factors affecting women’s health outcomes and the strengths of women’s health services in building women’s capacity for good health. Through evidence-based programmes that work across the social determinants of health, women’s health services ensure that women can sustain quality outcomes for themselves and their families.
Please voice your support for community women’s health services and their important contribution to building a healthy WA.