Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 759–770 | Cite as

The current status of gender-sensitive mental health services for women—findings from a global survey of experts

  • Prabha S. ChandraEmail author
  • Gayatri Saraf
  • Aakash Bajaj
  • Veena A. Satyanarayana
Original Article


Integrating gender in all aspects of health services is important and mental health is no exception. Despite several recommendations regarding the need for gender-sensitive mental health services, the actual availability of these is not clear, both in high and low-income countries. We sought to understand what aspects of gender-sensitive mental health care were considered a priority by global experts in women’s mental health and how satisfied they were with the current availability of these services in their own place of work. A survey with 43 items under 7 domains of gender-sensitive mental health care for women was sent to 150 experts in women’s mental health across the world, of whom 73 responded. Rating on each item was from 0 to 5. While majority of the experts rated most of the items as being very important (median score of 4 and above), some areas that were considered most important included training of mental health professionals in gender sensitivity, having private spaces for examination, using a life course approach to service planning and delivery, and assisting women who find it difficult to navigate the system and mother-baby units. However, satisfaction rates with available services were quite low overall and much lower among experts in low-income countries compared with those from high-income countries. Even in high-income countries, only 6 of the top 20 items were scored as satisfactory by at least 50% of experts. This expert survey method to arrive at consensus on top priorities for improving delivery of gender-sensitive mental health care indicates that at least 72% of the items provided in the survey were considered extremely important. Poor satisfaction of experts in both high- and low-income countries with availability of gender-sensitive services indicates the need for local and global strategic action and multilevel stakeholder engagement.


Gender sensitive Women Sex Mental health Services Psychiatry 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Institutional Ethics Committee, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, India, Ref no.: NIMHANS/EC/BEH SC/13/2018) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryNational Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS)BengaluruIndia
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of BiostatisticsNational Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS)BengaluruIndia
  4. 4.Department of Clinical PsychologyNational Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS)BengaluruIndia

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