We Asked Women What Their Mental Health Challenges Are: Here's What We Found

Updated: Mar 6


MindTerra has gone through a lot of shifts and changes. For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, you know what I’m talking about. The winds have blown every which way, and we’ve adjusted our sails to catch the wind in the best way we know how. In the latest episode of “the winds are changing (yet again),” with a little nudge from our Clinical Advisor, Jeanie, we decided to embark on a project to define a focused customer group and create an audience survey to better understand the needs and pain points of this group.


We realized that the structure of MindTerra events were born organically out of a natural evolution without really hearing the needs of who we want to serve. So it was time for us to reach out and hear from those we are passionate about serving. The first group we reached out to were young women professionals, aged 22-32.


We put together a survey and asked the team to blast out the survey to those in their circle that matched the criteria, and at the time of this writing, we came back with 73 responses.

A word cloud of survey responses to visualize what mental health challenges women face.


What did we find?

From the 73 women aged 22-32 who responded (thank you!), we found that keywords to describe the main mental health challenges this demographic faced included anxiety (29), stress (13), self-doubt (12), confidence (12), work (11), loneliness/isolation (7), fear (6), and insecurities (6). In asking how this group could feel more empowered, I noticed that the word “feel” and it’s variations was used 20 times, while “self” appeared 12 times. Without context, it was difficult to understand the barriers to respondents feeling empowered, but upon a closer look at the raw data, I hit a lightbulb moment. I’m sharing some quotes here from the survey for context:

  • “Feeling like a very small part of a larger machine”

  • “Feeling of failure, feeling of not being accepted or approved of by my peers/mentors”

  • “Feeling alone and the feeling of permanence make feel less empowered at times”


Seeing all the instances “feel” was used ignited that aha moment in my brain. The barriers that prevent these women from feeling empowered and having better mental-wellbeing are all self-perception and how they see themselves, whether it’s feelings of imposter syndrome, of self-doubt, or of fear.


It doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation at all, but rather, it’s the image of ourselves that we hold true in our minds.


The next natural question is then what do participants need to work on their mental well-being? Relevant keywords included time (9) support (9), myself (7). Allow me to share with you some quotes that dig deeper into what respondents need:


  • “A mental health group of some sort dedicated to talking about each other's mental health and coping strategies”

  • “Having a space to consistently talk about progress on my mental health”

  • “Fireside chats and training sessions on coping with insecurities and developing confidence, Sharing positive and inspiring stories/news of people from all walks of life(not just the mainstream "successful" people)”

  • “A platform to share, help, and support each other. A network of supportive and like minded peers. An anonymous chat platform to connect with a support and caring friend who’s going through or has been through something similar”

  • “Surrounding myself with people who care, appreciate me, and are supportive.”


On one hand, these survey results reaffirms the work that MindTerra is doing - providing a space to talk, sharing positive stories, and convening people who care and support each other. In another sense, it’s making us think deeply about what else can do to change people’s perception of themselves.


Can mental well-being be a muscle and a skill we can develop together? And how might we do that?


We are still in the early stages of our research and finding ways to test out new program ideas, and we would love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see from us and how we can best support you. And if you take one thing away from this piece, let it be this: you are not alone in your feelings and what you may be experiencing and going through. MindTerra’s community is here for you, whether to listen or to hold space.


We do hope that together, we can continue to support each other’s growth and mental well-being. Do stay tuned to see how this journey of listening, experimenting, and iterating goes for us!


P.S. If you’re woman-identifying and would like to share your thoughts on your mental well-being with us, please do so here: https://dssvzsdapbm.typeform.com/to/zh8iVQp7


***


Toffy Char is the co-founder of MindTerra, and is a listener, space-holder, and globe-trotter. In her free time, you can find her cooking without recipes, learning languages, and doing yoga. She’s also an avid reader — you can find her on Goodreads.

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