It’s finally here, and long overdue, we are rolling out our menopause training across the UK, it is a subject area close to my heart as I have suffered in silence for far too long, and, yes, I have been for many years very embarrassed about the subject, after all, it is deeply surrounded by stigma. I am sure I could literally write a book (or 3) on this topic, I have added a bit of my story at the end of the article, it’s been a heck of a journey for me, and not one I have enjoyed, coming to terms, and understanding the menopause has taken years, it has been for me, a slow burner; it is now time for me to share my experience and my knowledge and in the hope it will help others on their own menopause journey.
The menopause can and is quite debilitating for so many individuals, (albeit for some it isn’t) it needs to be understood, discussed, importantly in the workplace Employee well-being must be supported in this area, we can only do this by rising up and being counted, it is staggering to think that in the UK, individuals over 50 years old are the fastest growing workplace demographic and 8 in 10 people going through the menopause are in work.
Our new menopause training is focused solely on the menopause, its symptoms, making reasonable adjustments, and real support for you as Employers, and your Employees, just what that looks like, we look at not just writing policies; but how to implement ones that work in practice, how to empower your team, support inclusion, creating an amazing culture in your workplace, and above all wellbeing for all.
You can find out more about our NEW menopause training events at the end of this article, these are face-face events (we don’t do online), and you can book a private event or a general admission one, the choice is yours, you won’t be disappointed, as the training is heartfelt, based on true life experience, and obviously we have oodles of HR Professional experience too.
You can also read just some of Fran’s story at the end of this article, she really has been on a journey and not just with the menopause.
So, just what is the menopause?
Not to get too bogged down in the subject matter, (I could literally write about it all day) the menopause is a pivotal phase in an individual’s life, it means that periods stop due to lower hormone levels. This typically happens between the ages of 45 and 55.
It can happen earlier, this may be due to surgery, for example, a hysterectomy, or removal of ovaries. Other treatments can cause early onset, such as chemotherapy for cancer, other causes can be genetic or simply unknown.
There are 3 stages, the first is the perimenopause, which is when symptoms occur, but periods continue, the second stage is the menopause, which is when there has not been a menstrual period for 12 months.
These stages can last a long, long time, and there are varying symptoms that are associated with the menopause, some more common than others. They can include, anxiety, brain fog, mood swings, hot flashes, memory loss, the list goes on, they can start many years before the menstrual periods stop completely.
There are medications that can help with the symptoms of the menopause, known as Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) from patches, gels, sprays, tablets, and implants.
Many individuals do not want to take hormonal medication, there are other options such as depression medication instead, and many really do not want any intervention so, adopt a holistic approach, and these can help alleviate the symptoms.
The third stage is post-menopause, this is little talked about really, and in my opinion underrated, after hitting the menopausal stage the individual is onto the post-menopausal stage. Symptoms ‘can’ lessen and may eventually go away; at this stage, the individual is at an increased risk for conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.
If you have read this and thought, wow, I didn’t know all of this, then firstly thank you for your appreciation, it really is just the tip of the iceberg, I have condensed the content into the salient points. For those ‘in the know’, I appreciate there is so much more, I do want to keep the content as an overview.
It is an important stage in an individual’s life, it can and does last for decades for some, it affects not just the individual, it can/does have a huge impact on mental health, home/family, relationships, and of course work life.
There is a huge lack of understanding, and whilst it is appreciated that many people offer their help, with so many proclaiming to be experts, from what I hear and read, they really are not, cannot be, in fact not even lived through it; that being said, I celebrate anyone who has real-life experience, and more so of all 3 stages, to me it is only then that someone can truly discuss, and talk from the heart about it.
As an Employer How can I manage the menopause at work?
Here is the tricky bit, as an Employer no one has an expectation for you to suddenly to become an ‘expert’ not in the field of the menopause, it is extremely complex and can affect each individual on a personal level.
It is safe to say however that as an Employer, you should familiarise yourself with the legal frameworks that exist to protect Employees, and that you promote a fair and inclusive working environment.
The legal frameworks I mention include; The Equality Act 2010 and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, as an Employer you should have a reasonable knowledge of these to understand how you can support menopausal Employees effectively.
Whilst the ‘menopause’ itself is not a protected characteristic, it is important to understand that an individual’s symptoms would more than likely be covered as a protected characteristic, which that means as an Employer you would are obligated to treat menopausal Employees fairly to avoid any form of discrimination. Additionally, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 emphasises the importance of prioritising Employee well-being, ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for all.
Taking a fair and reasonable approach is imperative, having a clear and comprehensive understanding of the legislation is important as I have mentioned.
That means you can proactively engage in discussions surrounding reasonable adjustments, as an Employer you should be creating a culture that encourages open conversations.
I may be making all of this sound easy, right, but if done in the right way, as an Employer you can remove the stigma, and start to foster an environment where your Employees are supported and importantly empowered to remain in work.
I really have just covered a few areas in this article, I can help you with all of this as it is not an easy feat, take a look at our menopause training below.
How can the Menopause Training help me?
The training provides an all-around overview, the aim is for you to gain a clearer understanding of the menopause itself, the many symptoms, the 3 stages, the effects on individuals, and of course the challenges that occur.
The training will equip Employers, Managers, and leaders, arming them with the knowledge they so desperately need.
The same is said for the legal frameworks I mentioned early including; The Equality Act 2010 and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, as an Employer, having a reasonable knowledge of these to understand how you can support menopausal Employees effectively will help support, make provisions to implement policies, and offer reasonable adjustments and ones that make a real difference.
The training offers real-life, and pragmatic knowledge and experience, this most certainly will help you return to your workplace armed with knowledge, to advocate for your Employees, promote, and create a culture that promotes wellbeing.
How can I book my Menopause Training?
To book one of our Menopause training events is easy, we have 2 options, you can either:
- Book a private company session with us, just get in touch with us for more details, we offer training for 8-50 delegates in each session. Prices start at 185.00pp
- Book one of our open sessions, book direct with us, just get in touch (or book on Eventbrite) again our events are for 8-50 delegates, you can book from 1 delegate up to 50, Prices start at 185.00pp
Prices exclude vat at the prevailing rate, terms and conditions apply, (as advertised on our website)
How can we help you further?
We are here to provide full advice, support, and guidance. We can advise in any HR or Employment Law matter.
We offer any type of bespoke HR training you require/need, all of our training courses are written, and delivered face-face by us, and can be done so at your own offices or at ours,
This article was written with real-life experience and from the heart by – Fran Crossland, Director, you can read just some of her story here, it isn’t all about the menopause, it starts much earlier than that:
I was told at the age of 23 that I needed to have surgery to remove my uterus, and this was due to cancer, I was in complete utter shock, my head was spinning, I was 23…I mean talk about a blow to the system.
I had been having many tests and had a few rounds of treatment, it seemed nothing worked, I was given the news on a regular appointment, it was just blurted out, like something and nothing, just an everyday occurrence the consultant just said it, I was gobsmacked and in utter shock!!!! I mean, I wasn’t warned ahead of the appointment that they wanted to rip my womb out or anything, I felt like I was having a nightmare.
I went home, cried for about 6 hours (like you do) then I spoke to my mum who at the time was a midwife and had worked in gynecology for many years, in her honest opinion she felt that not enough had been done in view of my age, so I dusted myself down, and I called the hospital, and yep, I fought the medic’s, and I won, they did more investigations and retracted their decision, albeit I had several rounds of laser treatment and other invasive treatments. After 7 years I was given the ‘all clear’, and I cannot tell you what a relief that was.
Moving forward, at 37 I had my third child, albeit with major complications as she was born pre-term at 26 weeks, I was in the hospital for all of my pregnancy as my waters broke at about 8 weeks, I was extremely poorly when my ‘little dot’ was born, it really was like a miracle had happened. Had that surgery gone ahead at 23 years old she would not be here today, 20 years old and beautiful as the day she was born.
A couple of years later I became poorly yet again (that’s another story if I ever get the confidence to share) I was prescribed long-term medication which I can only presume sent me into early perimenopause, and this is where my story begins, the menopause and the 3 stages, as I have experienced all of them are in my opinion horrendous, I was in fact in the perimenopausal stage for around 5 years., the symptoms were horrid and still are, they have not dissipated over time, ok, they change, come and go, but whoah, they are real, take time to get your head round and by the time you do, one may go and another one appears, only to start all over again.
When the menopause hit nothing changed and I still had symptoms, ok, some changed, went away, and yep, my menstrual cycle stopped and has done ever since, I am now 56 my journey has taken over 15 years, and there’s lots of medication available; due to my medication I could not take HRT and presumably this compounded things for me, I tried in the early day’s herbal remedies, but these did not work for me, not being able to take HRT my only resolve was to get on with it and battle through; my symptoms were and still are prevalent ranging from mood swings, hot flashes, aching (dead) legs (which are horrific), brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, the symptoms can and do change, you never know where you are from one day/week to the next, its just a constant battle (for me anyway).
The menopause has affected me at work, having been in employment prior to owning my own business I can say confidently that businesses do not understand about it, or didn’t in my case back then, and from experience now still don’t, ok, and admittedly I may not have opened up back then, but ‘duty of care’ should have applied, not one had an inclination, or thought that I may be suffering, the menopause made me feel ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated, both on a personal level and for those around me, with my battered confidence, and self-esteem, looking back, over time I now view this as my ignorance, and at times theirs. I am in a good place now and as a business owner, I have learned that perhaps it wasn’t ignorance after all, more so a lack of understanding and knowledge, I can now safely say I have all of that in abundance and I can make a real change for the better.
I will admit that my mental health has suffered enormously, as has my confidence, which has been at all-time lows so many times it’s unbelievable, above all my self-esteem, the menopause is seriously debilitating and admittedly it takes time to control, I have learned to live ‘with’ the menopause rather that it is living with ‘me’, I have learned to understand ‘my ‘menopause journey, which helps me to move on, most of all I can talk about it, at times it does frustrate me when others talk about it when they have not quite frankly got a clue, this I do so as ignorance.
I could literally write books on the subject, the stages, the symptoms, and the effects on family, work, and mental health, I could just go on, and on. I see, hear, and read many viewpoints, women, men, and family members too, I do suppose their heart is in the right place though. My sincere philosophy is don’t preach about something if you really don’t know it, and inside out.
I urge anyone in any of the 3 stages to seek help, it is out there, you just have to get the right ‘stuff’ there is a lot of rubbish out there though. Choosing wisely is my advice. I am aware that the menopause can and is not so problematic for many, it is a personal journey, I have heard many stories that have been uplifting, I do not share my story to shock, scare or worry, this is just my own journey, I do wish anyone else a happier one than mime.
I have wanted to write and deliver the menopause training for such a long time, but the time has not been right, much of this was impacted by the pandemic, not only that I wanted to understand more, my own well-being and understanding needed to be right too, the time is just right now, the training is amazing for any business owner, Managers, HR Teams, HR Managers, anyone wanting/needing to understand more, their obligations, help their teams.
It is my very own training, delivered by me from real-life experience, knowledge, and a deep understanding, nobody will leave disappointed.
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