Invisible women even for medicine. Saturday, June 11th on Feminism a book to ask the question and turn the course



White, male, rich: on this model, medicine is designed. This has been proven once again by a research published in these days Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, after which pulse oximeters work poorly on blacks and Hispanics, making their blood more oxygen-rich than it really is and changing the rating of patients, with the consequence that during the pandemic the people belonging to minorities, an inequality have suffered. Care and, while due to Covid, life expectancy dropped by about one year among whites, three years of life were lost to blacks and Hispanics. All of this has always happened to women, who make up half of the world’s population, are systematically ignored and excluded from tests and medical studies that do not consider their difference, exposing them to risks that cost them their lives. Until about ten years ago, for example, no one noticed that women had a different clinical picture of myocardial infarction than that of men, seen as “normal”, universal: the consequences you can easily imagine. In short, women do not exist, they are invisible: they are not present in talk shows, in decision-making tables, in textbooks, in everyday language. A void that makes society poorer and cities less inclusive, less suitable for everyone, not to mention how women themselves feel: inadequate, alienated, too much.

Therefore, the authors of “Practices for Gender Mental Health” (Vita Activa Edizioni), presented a few weeks ago at the Turin Book Fair and this afternoon at 4 pm in Rome at the International Women’s House (via della Lungara 19) on the occasion of Feminism Women Release Fairthey decided to talk to each other because “as long as I kept a woman quiet, not mediated, there was always a deep insecurity”, as Luisa Muraro says, quoted by Valentina Botter, one of the curators along with Sergia Adamo and Marina Barnabà .

Health, even more so mental health, is not just a matter of illness, but is the result of so-called social determinants that affect the level of education, income, employment, the environment in which one lives and the network of relationships . works daily: The WHO says this with more and more conviction, but Franco Basaglia has strongly confirmed this, and invites us to put the person and his dignity back at the center of care and to put the disease in brackets, because “The patient is not just a sick person, but a man with all his needs.” It is after this deep conviction that in Trieste, home of the Basaglian Revolution, a whole range of services and realities that care about people in the true sense of the word “through emotional participation and complicity” are born after closure. of the asylum a few years later Assunta Signorelli, one of her students, who always paid special attention to what we need the indirect aspects of care such as the environment around, the furniture, the colors, d ‘Organization of places, do everything possible to shorten the distance between doctor and patient and first take care of the real needs of the person suffering.

Responding to real needs first means being aware that “gender is a relevant factor and has an impact on health inequalities”, as they say Marina Barnabà and Anna Stavro in the contribution that opens the book. The sick person, one might say, is not just a sick person, but a man or woman with all his needs. Need that the articulated services that are present in the area try to take over those whose power, he says Francesca Bertossi, lies in the gaze of the observer asking for help, and his ability not to reduce this question to the analysis of a symptom in which the person disappears, to take over in a collegial way (“Mental illness” said Signorelli ” is something we only deal with as a team and as a network in the sense of a network of responses that must include a range of things “), considering gender as an approach to complexity, knowing that a gender practice is not enough for women to be committed Counter offer, because such a complex problem can not be closed in an important organizational element. It is necessary to consider all the elements that represent risk factors for mental health so far generally recognized, as he reminds us Valentina Botter: the gender gap, gender discrimination, the violence suffered, the different workloads within and outside the family. Because women usually get sick from this and it is not prescribed by psychiatric medications that it really helps them, medications that have been studied on male invariance while it is now known and established that the female hormonal makeup in different moments of life different (childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and purperium, breastfeeding, menopause). It is necessary – always writes the butter – to ask for a sexual scientific research, sexual diagnoses, sexual counseling, sexual prescriptions, to recover sexual rights. But above all it is necessary to stay close, to look at the subjectivity, to appreciate the specifics and the differences, to try, to equalize, when it is not possible to eliminate them completely, including the social and economic problems , which determine mental illness, aggravate the conditions. , as he says. Silva Bon, which in its contribution describes the history of women’s places in the Trieste Department of Mental Health, unique in Italy in their gender path. And it is necessary to guarantee autonomous places for women, to create relationships between women. This is the experience of the association Luna e L’Altra, founded in 1990 to support fragile people in an equal relationship of which it speaks. Tiziana Giannotti, which underlines the value that for those who are particularly fragile, the opportunity to have a series of treatments and environments free of any health label, where to find someone who wants to listen, may drink a tea. Sometimes – say some of the women greeted – it is the only reason to get up and leave the house with great effort and return more calmly, even though we know that the next day the fight will start again. “Listening” continues Giannotti “is perhaps the most felt need among fragile women. They must always tell about the moment, but also about their past. All this must be developed in parallel to the practical part, which activates a whole series This could include support courses for individual resettlement, support for parents, schooling, temporary expulsion, contrasting risks of social exclusion, support for restarting work, support for the task of family businesses and much more. is about promoting the fundamental rights that many women in Trieste and beyond have fought for because – as she writes Giorgi teawhich owes its transformation from a solitary and quiet feminist to an active feminist in the face of Basaglia’s experience – Article 3 of the Constitution is not an empty statement of principle.

A book born out of “an obvious need to tell, to tell, to give the form of an understandable and recognizable story for what is being considered,” he writes Sergia Adamo, but «do not rewrite and close down the thoughts that create actions and experiences. In this case, the narrative seems to be a space to take risks and note the weakness that allows us to constantly ask new questions. So a book to absolutely read, but above all to continue writing all together.

(Sergia Adamo, Marina Barnabà, Francesca Bertossi, Silva Bon, Valentina Botter, Silvana Cremaschi, Letonde Hermine Gbedo, Tiziana Giannotti, Tea Giorgi, Elisabetta Paci, Annalisa Saba, Anna Stavro, Paola Zanus Michiei, “Practice for Gender Mental Health Note for a handbook “, Trieste, Vita Activa Edizioni, October 2021, pages 226, Euro 16.00)

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