26 April 2022

Daniela Bianco
The contribution of the Headway project to women’s mental health in the aftermath of Covid-19

During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, cases of mental disorders, especially anxiety and depression, have increased worldwide. The World Health Organization reports that it is women who are the most affected, especially during pregnancy and postpartum, and that the victims of violence have increased. 

As we stated in a previous article, the search for a work-life balance through the pandemic has seriously undermined the well-being of women, both at work and at home: 53% of women (against 37% of men) reported a significant deterioration of their mental health, while 1 woman out of 3 has been working more than before. This has also been affecting women’s personal safety. Isolation, forced cohabitation and socio-economic instability have caused an escalation of domestic violence, with an increase of +119.6% in calls to anti-violence centers compared to 2019.

A proactive approach to reaching these women in times of need could facilitate the prevention, early detection and treatment of mental health disorders, and reduce the burden of the disease. Unfortunately, despite the fact that in these two years the scientific world has been able to produce a significant amount of research and studies on the impact of Covid-19 on mental health, at least in terms of publications, little has been done to enhance mental health services.

These are just some data from the "Headway" project, which have been quoted in the briefing "An ambitious future for Europe’s women after COVID-19: mental load, gender equality in teleworking and unpaid care work after the pandemic" requested by the FEMM Commission of the European Parliament.

Through the Headway project, launched in 2017 by The European House - Ambrosetti in partnership with Angelini Pharma, we are committed to contributing to strengthen and improve care models for people with mental disorders in Europe. 

In 2021, the working group produced a timely analysis ("Headway2023 - Mental Health Index") to investigate mental health, from multiple perspectives, in the 27 EU countries and the UK. The study was conducted with a broad approach, which was not limited to exploring the clinical-health aspects but was also extended to society, schools and workplaces.

In 2022, our goal is to update the analysis model, by integrating the environmental factor. This factor will take into account both the environmental context itself (for example, pollution, climate, etc.), and the physical context (for example, natural disasters, security, crime, etc.). The impacts of the environment on people’s health (both physical and mental) are at the centre of the attention: at the beginning of April 2022, the WHO announced the World Health Day under the banner of "Save the Planet to save our health".

For timely updates on mental health issues, visit the Headway 2023 website and the Healthcare pages of The European House - Ambrosetti