There are currently 13 million people who are currently peri or menopausal in the UK – a third of the entire UK female population.
90% of people have menopausal symptoms and 10% of women leave their jobs because of them, according to The Menopause Charity.
Menopause is defined as when periods stop due to low hormone levels. Physical symptoms can occur such as lack of sleep, hot flushes, anger, irritability, and forgetfulness. These symptoms are well documented, but anxiety, extreme low mood and suicidal thoughts are much less known and can be devastating for women, usually aged between 45 to 55, but it can start much earlier.
Dorset Mind is committed to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and promoting open conversations about mental wellbeing. These discussions have proven beneficial in helping people realise they are not alone which also helps reduce the risk of suicide.
Informed by staff and volunteers experiencing their own menopause journeys, the organisation recognises the specific challenges associated with menopause.
Our new Active Monitoring Menopause pathway was designed to provide support to women going through or displaying early signs of menopause, known as perimenopause.
Mery Zanutto, Active Monitoring Team Leader at Dorset Mind, played a crucial role in the development of this pathway, with the team at national Mind. She drew upon her clinical expertise as a former Advanced Surgical Practitioner and her own personal experience of menopause.
Mery says, “As a former Advanced Surgical Practitioner as well as having experienced the Menopause journey both naturally and surgically induced, national Mind felt I was a good asset in providing both clinical and personal experience input into the materials. Due to the increased awareness and demand for support services amongst patients in the past couple of years, we felt we needed to be able to address and respond to these increasing enquiries.
Our new pathway focuses on perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause which, together with the two additional resources of “The Role of Hormones” and “How to Best Manage the Menopause Treatment”, will provide the individual with basic knowledge.”
Linda O’Sullivan, Dorset Mind CEO adds, “It’s important that everyone knows and understands the menopause. Even if you’re not affected personally, it’s likely that women in your family, friendship group or colleagues will go through this ‘second stage’ in life. It’s essential for women to feel empowered and fulfilled in all areas of their lives and we’re dedicated to providing this vital and easily accessed support.
Dr Andy Mayers, Dorset Mind Patron, and Principal Academic at Bournemouth University said, “I am delighted that we can offer this Active Monitoring service for Menopause. We need to support women’s mental health throughout their lifespan. The impact of this major life change has been overlooked for too long.”
In partnership with NHS Primary Care Networks (groups of GP Surgeries known as PCNs), Dorset Mind offers their menopause pathway through its Active Monitoring service.
The menopause pathway, along with six additional pathways for mild to moderate mental health conditions, addresses anger, anxiety, depression, stress, grief and loss, and loneliness. Our Practitioners guide patients through six weekly 1-2-1 sessions. Referrals can be made by healthcare professionals or through self-referrals to the Lantern Trust – and there is often little or no waiting list for accessing support.
Active Monitoring is available in GP surgeries across Dorset for individuals aged 11 and above. Currently available in 12 PCNs, the service can be accessed without a long waiting time. More information about the specific GP surgeries offering this support is available on dorsetmind.uk.
While Dorset Mind provides valuable support in these areas, it’s important to note that GPs remain the primary resource for clinical guidance.
Support for you – or a friend…
If you or someone you know is having a hard time and struggling with their mental health, there are organisations on hand to listen, day or night.
These contacts are open 24/7:
- Call Connection – Dorset’s NHS mental health helpline – NHS 111
- Call Samaritans – on-hand to help, however big or small the problem – 116 123
- Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 for confidential support via text message
For additional resources visit our crisis page here.
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Dorset Mind is a self-funded local charity that helps people in Dorset experiencing mental health problems access the vital support they need. The charity is at the very heart of our communities shaping futures, changing and in some cases literally saving lives.