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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

The Female Mind: A User's Guide

Edited by Kathryn M. Abel and Rosalind Ramsay

Price: £13.99

College members' price: £12.59

Published: Oct 2017

Format: Paperback

Number of pages: 260

ISBN: 9781909726802

The Female Mind: A User's Guide

What does it mean to be a woman in the modern world? How does our understanding of the different roles and expectations placed on women affect us in our day-to-day life and interactions? And what to do if it all becomes just a bit too much…?

The editors of The Female Mind: A User’s Guide have asked their colleagues, women and men, from various healthcare professions and women with lived experience of mental illness to attempt to answer those questions. What emerged is a guide of 35 chapters that empowers women in navigating the different states, emotions and conversations around their mental health, and enables men to understand what life might be like for their sisters, partners and friends. The book’s diverse range of topics spans anxiety, motherhood, eating disorders, what it means to grow up as a woman, and living positively with mental illness. It gives helpful tips and lists useful resources, and draws on a wide number of incredible stories from women’s lives, from teenagers to mature women, and includes inspirational accounts from women who lead satisfying lives despite sometimes struggling with mental illness.

In her foreword to the book, Claire Eastham, the popular blogger behind We’re All Mad Here, calls it ‘a friendly guided tour of a woman’s brain’. We hope it will become just that to all who read it.

  • Examines how gender affects mental health.
  • Armed with this knowledge you will feel more informed and better equipped to communicate confidently with your doctors and healthcare practitioners.
  • Contains many entertaining real-life stories.
  • An authoritative and fascinating overview of the complexities of being a woman that will help you to understand and deal with potential mental health problems.
  • All authors are experts in the field who draw on the latest high-quality evidence and present it in an easy-to-read format.
  • Read the foreword by Claire Eastham

Readership: The general public.

Read sample chapters

“It reads like a friendly guided tour of a woman’s brain… After reading it I felt revolutionised. Is it any wonder that women are more likely to develop some mental illnesses? We deal with a lot of rubbish!”
- From the foreword by Claire Eastham (well known mental health blogger and author of bestseller We’re All Mad Here)

About the editors:
Prof Kathryn M. Abel – Professor of Psychological Medicine, Centre for Women’s Mental Health, University of Manchester.
Dr Rosalind Ramsay – Consultant Psychiatrist, Maudsley Hospital, London.

“The Female Mind is a hugely important publication. Hurrah! I can’t believe there’s finally a mental health book for the general reader. …Whether you’re suffering yourself, or caring for someone else, this book is for you…I wish this had been around ten years ago.”
- Claire Eastham
(Well known mental health blogger and author)

"The majority of those who present for help with mental health problems in the community have always been women. At last - a book that brings together in one volume all the essential information, advice, wisdom and intelligence needed to help the women with mental health problems. I wish it had been available when I was a trainee."
- Professor Linda Gask

(BMA Medical Book Award-winning author and former Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry in Manchester)


Foreword - by Claire Eastham

Introduction: being female


Part I. Women in perspective

1. The history of the ‘female mind’

2. Gender inequalities and women’s mental health

3. Female sexuality

4. Growing up female


Part II. Women and society

5. Poverty, exclusion, debt and women

6. Arranged marriage

7. Girls at risk

8. Domestic abuse

9. Women and the criminal justice system


Part III. Women and their environment

10. Emotional well-being and staying well

11. Sensitive motherhood

12. Religion and spirituality

13. Linking physical and mental health in women

14. Obesity

15. Women and sleep

16. Women and pain

17. Bereavement, loss and grief


Part IV. Women and specific disorders

18. Depression and other mood disorders

19. Anxiety disorders

20. Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder

21. The dangers of rumination

22. Obsessive–compulsive disorder

23. Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder

24. Psychosexual disorders

25. Personality disorders: risks and recovery

26. Self-harm

27. Women and addiction

28. Autism spectrum disorder

29. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

30. Psychotic illness

31. Postnatal depression and postpartum psychosis

32. Living longer: normal age-related changes, dementia and depression


Part V. Women and treatment

33. What women want from medication

34. What women want from services: a patient’s perspective

35. Complementary and alternative therapies




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