Gender and Mental Health

Erin Kelly | November 23, 2021  | Article | No Comments

I recently read a study that said women talk a lot more about mental health than men. This perception is almost a stereotype but it made me curious to test it out against Polly. Polly did confirm that women are talking more about mental health than men are, though the difference tightens considerably when the query is changed to men’s mental health. In this graph, the orange dots show the relative representation of women to men in the population. As you can see, women are speaking more than expected and men less, given their appearance in the population.

One of the big advantages of Polly, however, is that we can see trends even without specifically asking for them. And in this search, I noticed right away that the biggest predictor of whether or not you felt safe discussing mental health issues was your economic status, not your gender:

I thought this was interesting as the pervading wisdom is that people suffering from mental health issues tend to have lower income, perhaps because mental health cuts down on the number of hours they are able to work. But those might just be the people who are suffering from issues so severe it impedes their ability to work. And we would have to do more research to see if middle income people just talk about it more, or they actually suffer from mental health problems more.

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