The Impact of Period Poverty on Women’s Mental Health

Guest Blogger: She Supply Intern Amelia

Have you ever walked into school or work while on your period and felt your self-confidence instantly drain? Perhaps you feel a sense of uncleanliness and fear of bleeding through your pants because you do not have adequate menstrual protection? Sadly, one in four women struggle with being able to afford period products and have to deal with this sense of fleeting self-confidence every month. The inability to purchase period products, which are necessities within a women’s life, is called period poverty. The act of being unable to afford period products and having to go through life with this constant struggle has the ability to largely affect a woman’s mental health.

Put yourself in the shoes of a young 12-year-old girl who has just started her period at home for the first time. She runs to her mother for help and the mother explains to this young girl that they cannot afford any period products. The young girl instantly feels a sense of shame as she realizes that her family cannot afford the basic necessities of life. On top of this shame, she feels extremely anxious knowing that she has to face all the kids at school the next day without proper period protection. Or worse, will skip school to avoid the situation entirely. This is the reality for so many young women around the world and this short-term sense of apprehension is shown to develop into long-term mental health issues, such as anxiety in adulthood.

            A variety of studies show that being unable to afford period products puts women at a higher risk for mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Experiencing period poverty goes beyond preconceived notions of feeling uncomfortable or unclean, and causes real mental health issues that considerably affect a woman’s daily activities. A woman should not have to skip school or work simply because she cannot afford a basic necessity; however, this occurs quite frequently and causes women to lose their confidence and drive. As period poverty affects women with a lower socioeconomic status at an increasingly higher rate, these women may experience a reduced quality of life and tend to have a negative self-perception, further impacting their ability to access educational and employment opportunities.

            The issue of period poverty and the severe impact it has on self-esteem and self-worth places women who are already at high risk for the occurrence of depression and anxiety at further risk. Around the world, women are in a state of worry and stress, which is often associated with the inability to have access to appropriate period supplies.

She Supply is passionate about providing a sense of decency and cleanliness to women in need. We want all women who feel shame, a lack of self-confidence, or are dealing with mental health issues as a result of period poverty, to receive the help they so greatly deserve. She Supply’s concept of being unapologetically female is important to remember when those experiencing period poverty are encountering negative self-perception, because all women are worthy and beautiful. It is vital that there is increased awareness about the effect that period poverty has on mental health, because that is the only way that there will be true change in this world.

Help us support women’s health by providing period supplies, a basic necessity. Considering donating today.