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A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Agenda, an alliance of women’s groups who support females at risk, have warned that women’s mental health needs are not being adequately considered.

Despite the continuing rise of female suicides, out of the 35 trusts that replied to Agenda, only Surrey had a gender-specific strategy.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) say that female patients should be asked about their experience of domestic abuse.

The guidelines say that mental health services should ensure trained staff ask service users whether they have experienced domestic abuse.

The FOI request found that over fifty per cent of trusts had no policy of routinely asking about domestic abuse.

Katharine Sacks-Jones, director of Agenda, said: “Women facing poor mental health are among the most vulnerable people. The majority have experienced violence and abuse and many report needing women-specific spaces to feel safe.”

In 2014 the male suicide rate was three times higher than the female rate. However, the female rate has increased from 4.8 to 5.2 deaths per 100,000.

The male rate has decreased from 17.8 deaths per 100,000 to 16.8.

The Department of Health say that it is vital that mental health care takes gender into account.

According to the Department of Health more women than men accessed mental health and learning disability services in 2014-15.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “It is vital that all mental health care, particularly when abuse is involved, takes account of gender.”

“Clinical guidelines are clear on this and the NHS has recently published its strategy for mental health; equality is central to this and we expect this to lead to rapid improvement across all care,” he continued.

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