UK's first menopause education programme launches after research found 90% of women weren't taught about it in school | The Sun

THE UK’s first menopause educational programme is set to launch, as data shows 90 per cent of people were not taught about it at school.

Those behind the programme hope it can be offered by companies to employees, which would support The Sun’s Fabulous Menopause Matter campaign aims.

The course, named the National Menopause Education and Support Programme, was designed by experts at University College London (UCL) and leading women's health charities.

Those behind it said they hope it will give women reaching menopausal age a better understanding of what to expect.

Across a number of weeks, those taking part will be given up-to-date and evidence-based education, including symptoms and treatments.

The course will be delivered by trained healthcare professionals and there will be peer support from others going through a similar experience.

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Work on developing the programme will begin at UCL in September and those behind it hope it is something which firms can offer to their workers.

The Sun's Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign has called time on the lack of awareness around menopause and the workplace.

An exclusive survey for the campaign found that women usually first notice menopause symptoms around the age of 47 – a whopping 18 years before the accepted retirement age.

Greater awareness, better medical support and women feeling able to discuss the effects of the menopause more openly at home and work can have a hugely beneficial impact on women's lives.

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Some 50 per cent of respondents said there is not enough support out there for menopausal women.

Professor Joyce Harper, who is leading the programme development, made similarly startling findings with research on postmenopausal women earlier this year.

When questioned, 90 per cent said they were not taught about the menopause at school, and 60 per cent only started looking for information about it when they began to have symptoms.

Prof Harper, from the Institute for Women's Health at UCL, said they want to help women access the information they need "to manage the changes they experience in this part of their life, in the best way possible".

She said: "Research has shown that women are currently poorly educated about the menopause and often go into it not understanding what to expect.

"Some menopausal symptoms can cause psychological issues and women may mistake their symptoms for mental health issues or other concerning causes, and this can have a negative effect on their wellbeing."

Prof Harper said they want to "keep the price of the programme low to make it accessible to everyone" and plan to work with firms so they can make it available to employees.

The programme is in partnership with the charities Wellbeing of Women and Sophia Forum, and is supported by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and British Menopause Society.

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Janet Lindsay, chief executive of Wellbeing of Women, said: "Every woman deserves access to high-quality information and menopause support, yet as research from Professor Harper shows, too many women haven't been given the knowledge they desperately need and deserve.

"We hope this work will empower a generation of women to understand the changes to their bodies during menopause and access help to manage their symptoms."

Fabulous Menopause Matters

An estimated one in five of the UK’s population are currently experiencing it.

Yet the menopause is still whispered in hush tones like it’s something to be embarrassed about. 

The stigma attached to the transition means women have been suffering in silence for centuries. 

The Sun are determined to change that, launching the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign to give the taboo a long-awaited kick, and get women the support they need.

The campaign has three aims:

  • To make HRT free in England
  • To get every workplace to have a menopause policy to provide support
  • To bust taboos around the menopause

The campaign has been backed by a host of influential figures including Baroness Karren Brady CBE, celebrities Lisa Snowdon, Jane Moore, Michelle Heaton, Zoe Hardman, Saira Khan, Trisha Goddard, as well as Dr Louise Newson, Carolyn Harris MP, Jess Phillips MP, Caroline Nokes MP and Rachel Maclean MP. 

Exclusive research commissioned by Fabulous, which surveyed 2,000 British women aged 45-65 who are going through or have been through the menopause, found that 49% of women suffered feelings of depression, while 7% felt suicidal while going through the menopause. 

50% of respondents said there is not enough support out there for menopausal women, which is simply not good enough. It’s time to change that. 

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