There is no health without mental health. Menopause effects your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing so does that make it a mental health issue?
It can certainly feel that way when seemingly overnight you become extremely forgetful and encounter difficulty articulating the simplest of ideas. Your usual motivation and enthusiasm for new projects is replaced with anxiety and a lack of confidence in your ability to do well.
‘I was overwhelmed with an impending sense of doom’ is how one client described her menopause to me.
Signs of depression in the workplace are remarkably similar to those associated with menopause at work:
- Decreased productivity
- Mood swings
- Extreme fatigue
- Complaints of unexplained aches and pains
There’s no doubt the lack of awareness and stigma associated with mental ill health at work is similar to that associated with menopause:
- Those affected are embarrassed and reluctant to seek treatment and support because of concerns about what others will think of them.
- Many of us are not well informed or educated about the impact of mental health issues. The same is true with regards to the impact menopause at work.
- Line Managers are unable to recognize the signs in an employee struggling with anxiety, depression or stress. Likewise menopause.
So what can be learnt from the approach currently being taken to address mental health in the workplace to ease the stigma, stress and anxiety associated with menopause at work?
- To address the stigma senior leaders have a responsibility to promote a culture whereby mental health and wellbeing is recognized as integral to business success and not a topic to shy away from.
- There is an increasing expectation that line managers support the wellbeing of their team alongside delivering on business targets. Therefore line managers require specific training to equip them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to support mid life female employees working through menopause.
- Consider the impact of menopause routinely as part of policies, procedures and guidelines. Review risk assessments and documentation relating to leave of absence, flexible working and reasonable adjustments.
- Ensure employees have easy access to balanced advice. Provide sources of information online and offer expert led workshops on managing symptoms like brain fog, hot flushes and anxiety at work.
- Approach the topic of menopause at work within a cohesive strategy. Documentation, awareness and training all need to align.
One in four of us will experience some form of mental health issue. Every women will experience menopause symptoms to some degree. What’s your organisation doing to support those women?
For more information on how your organization can increase awareness and support for all employees with regards to menopause at work please email firstname.lastname@example.org.