Gender as a marker of informal care relations in mental health

Abstract Background The gender interface as an important category in the field of mental health is still incipient. This results in the reification of practices that reproduce inequalities and asymmetries between men and women caregivers in the context of psychiatric care in Brazil. Objective To discuss how gender has marked care practices performed by families through the identification of differences in socio-demographic profile, development of care activities and their repercussions on the family's life according to the sex of the individuals. Method A cross-sectional study with 1242 relatives of users of Psychosocial Care Centers. We verified the prevalence of each variable stratum according to the sex of the individuals studied using chi-square test for heterogeneity. Results Aspects such as absence of the division of care activity, feeling of overload, poor quality of life, dissatisfaction with family relationships, and manifestation of minor psychiatric disorders were more prevalent among the women accessed. Conclusion There are important differences between men and women caregivers in mental health, especially regarding the repercussions of care on the lives of these people.