Despite the increasing incidence of mental-health problems in the population a growing body of research suggests that the great majority of those who are psychologically distressed receive no mental health care. Women report much higher rates of mental-health problems than men and middle-aged women report more problems than other age groups. An Australian study of 11,201 women between the ages of 50 and 55 examined which of them had consulted a counsellor, psychologist or social worker in the past 12 months. The study used data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health and found that although studies have found 36% of the Australian population to be suffering from psychological distress only 7% of the women had consulted someone about their mental health in the previous year. The women who had had counselling were found to be more stressed and less optimistic but to have higher levels of satisfaction with their lives and a greater feeling of control. They were also more likely to have had significant life events over the previous year, changed health status, to be taking more medication, to live in urban areas, to be university educated and to live alone.
Schofield, Margot J. and Khan, Asaduzzaman - Australian women who seek counselling: psychosocial, health behaviour, and demographic profile Counselling and Psychotherapy Research March 2008, 8(1), 12-20