Nearly 200,000 women across Wakefield have or will experience the effects of menopause but every woman will be impacted differently.
The Royal College of nursing estimates that around 8 in 10 women in the UK experience symptoms. Of those 45 per cent find their symptoms difficult to deal with.
To offer a helping hand, Menopause & Me, a project by Nova and MenoHealth has been set up to deliver peer support and information sessions in communities across the district.
From Agbrigg to Portobello and Ossett, there have been 10 community leaders who’ve been trained as MenoHealth First Aiders.
One of those is Paula Appleton from Evergreen Active CIC who said: “One was so unhappy she’d considered suicide.
“We’re grateful to MenoHealth and Nova for enabling us to deliver these much needed sessions.”
The woman said: “I’ve had a lonely journey for a long time with menopause and symptoms.
“You threw me a life when I was drowning.
“Keep doing what you’re doing and throwing lifelines.”
A number of studies have identified that menopause significantly impacts mood and mental health, including higher stress levels and depression.
Me & Menopause specifically focused on this aspect that can significantly impact women’s mental health. An area which previously had no joined up approach in Wakefield.
Sara Moger, CEO of British Menopause Society said:
“13 million women are going through the menopause or perimenopause in the UK right now, it’s so important that they have access to accurate, science-based health information, together with the help and support they need.”
Some businesses such as Wakefield Council have been leading the way in staff wellbeing by making menopause support readily available. This is currently only available for council staff and associates. The Me & Menopause programme rolls out this provision, so it is available to all the residents of Wakefield.
Me & Menopause First Aider and peri-menopausal woman, Sarah Cutts, said: “Employers, partners and sometimes friends have misunderstood us, as we navigate our way through hot sweats, mood swings, heavy bleeds, anxiety and many more symptoms of the peri-menopause. It is not acceptable that the people we turn to don’t have sufficient training to help 50 per cent of the population .
“The Me & Menopause course, being delivered through the Wakefield District can help with the myths and symptoms of menopause and give practical guidance as to how to approach your GP when seeking advice.”
The knock-on effect of this input has and will benefit not only the women themselves but their families, friends and work colleagues.
Project Lead Rachel Hale, said: “Working with such a passionate group of women to develop and deliver the Me and Menopause project has been a breath of fresh air. This project highlights the huge part third sector organisations can play in delivering vital health messages and information to their communities.”
Knowledge is power and we want to empower women to know more about their bodies, the changes they experience and ways they can manage those symptoms. Giving women confidence to seek additional support from professionals such as their GP, manager if needed, armed with information and the support of their peers.
World Menopause Day is on 18 October and the theme is cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in women.
The day raises awareness of women’s increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as how to prevent it such as plenty of sleep, a healthy diet and regular weight bearing exercise.
For more symptoms and preventable tips, go to: https://www.menohealth.co.uk/ and https://www.nova-wd.org.uk/news/introducing-our-new-project-me-menopause.