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Health & Fitness Women's Health

All In Her Head

How Gender Bias Harms Women's Mental Health

by (author) Misty Pratt

Greystone Books Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2024
Women's Health, Mental Health, Gender Studies, History
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2024
    List Price

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This provocative, deeply personal book explores how women experience mental health care differently than men—and lays out how the system must change for women to flourish.

Why are so many women feeling anxious, stressed out, and depressed, and why are they not getting the help they need? Over the past decade, mood disorders have skyrocketed among women, who are twice as likely to be diagnosed as men. Yet in a healthcare system steeped in gender bias, women’s complaints are often dismissed, their normal emotions are pathologized, and treatments routinely fail to address the root causes of their distress. Women living at the crossroads of racial, economic, and other identities face additional barriers. How can we pinpoint what’s wrong with women’s mental health, and what needs to change?

In All in Her Head, science writer Misty Pratt embarks on a crucial investigation, painting a picture of a system that is failing women on multiple levels. Pratt, who shares her own history of mental illness, explores the stereotypes that have shaped how we understand and treat women’s distress, from the Ancient Greek concept of “hysteria” to today’s self-help solutions. Weaving together science and women’s personal stories, All in Her Head debunks mental health myths and challenges misconceptions, addressing the following questions:

  • When did normal emotions become symptoms of a disorder?
  • What are specific risk factors for common mental disorders that disproportionately affect women?
  • How did “burnout” become a women’s disease?
  • What can we do to make peace with our moods and embrace the gifts of our emotions?

Pratt also tackles the thorny topic of medication, taking a nuanced and evidence-based approach. Women who present at their doctor’s office with depression, anxiety, or stress are often prescribed antidepressants as a first-line treatment: at least one in four American women are now taking these medications. Antidepressants have a real effect that can be helpful for some individuals; however, Pratt persuasively argues that our current approach ignores the underlying causes of most women’s depressive symptoms.

Today, a rising movement of women is demanding better when it comes to mental health treatment. Armed with the latest science, insight from those who have been through the therapeutic system, and enough humor to lighten the load, All in Her Head provides women with hope and courage to reframe and reclaim their mental health.

About the author

Misty Pratt is a medical researcher who has written for publications including Broadview,, and Today’s Parent. All In Her Head is her first book. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.


Misty Pratt's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Ideal for both general readers and for mental health professionals. [All in Her Head] deftly brings awareness to biases and dismissive attitudes about women patients and the barriers they face when they seek treatment and relief."
Library Journal

"[An] incisive debut...Artfully weaving personal anecdotes into her probing analysis, Pratt demonstrates how broad social and historical forces converge on the individual. It’s a troubling assessment of sexism’s persistent harms."
Publishers Weekly

All in Her Head is a long-overdue, rigorously researched excavation of the roots of women’s mental illness and an indictment of a medical system that too often dismisses or pathologizes their symptoms instead of offering true healing.”
—Maya Dusenbery, author of Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick

“Enlivening, engaging, and enraging—Misty Pratt takes the reader by the hand to explore the myriad ways we fail women’s mental health and set women’s minds, brains, and bodies up for failure. I hope this makes you mad.”
—Anna Mehler Paperny, author of Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me

"Beautifully written and meticulously researched, All in Her Head is one part medical mystery and one part group therapy session. If you’ve ever felt frustrated or exhausted by painfully simplistic one-size-fits-all mental health advice, you’ll appreciate the wise, compassionate, and unapologetically political voice of Misty Pratt. Her key takeaway message? It doesn’t have to be this way. Women deserve so much better.”
—Ann Douglas, author, Navigating The Messy Middle: A Fiercely Honest and Wildly Encouraging Guide for Midlife Women

“In this captivating debut, Pratt seamlessly blends personal experience with hard-nosed research to expose how women fall through the cracks of mental health care and what can be done about it. While gently guiding readers on her own depression journey, Pratt masterfully weaves expert narrative alongside heartfelt interviews and facts, offering a path through the mental health maze by means of advocacy, education and empowerment. All In Her Head belongs on every bookshelf as a call to action and a powerful, informative read.”
—Kelly S. Thompson, bestselling author of Still, I Cannot Save You and Girls Need Not Apply