October is Menopause Awareness Month. It is not only a month where the link between menopause and mental health is explored, but also a time to celebrate the resilience and strength of women who go through this profound phase of life. Much like other experiences women face, menopause is still regrettably viewed as a taboo subject. That is why it is important to raise awareness and dispel the stigma – to encourage open conversations, support, and understanding for every woman on this journey. In this article we will examine the relationship between hormones and mental health, the role of psychotherapy in managing menopausal symptoms, and how to support the women in your life who are experiencing the transition or may do so at a future point in time.
Do female hormones affect mental health?
The link between mental health and our own physiology, including the systems and mechanisms behind hormone regulation, is not always fully understood or acknowledged by the general public. We tend to spout maxims like “that’s just how they are” or “it’s all in their heads”, but we do not always consider the intricate balance of biochemical factors that influence our emotions, behaviours, and overall wellbeing. The end result is often that women do not get the support they need, or when they approach someone for help, their concerns are either downplayed or dismissed outright.
Menopause refers to the natural end of menstruation, typically occurring in women aged 45-55. As estrogen levels fluctuate and eventually decrease, various symptoms manifest. These symptoms range from hot flushes to mood swings. Importantly, hormonal changes during this transition can have a direct impact on one’s mental health. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders can be exacerbated or even triggered by these hormonal shifts.
The role of psychotherapy during menopause
Women need support, especially during the transformative phase of menopause. Psychotherapy provides that nurturing environment, allowing them to articulate their emotions, apprehensions, and experiences. By delving into coping techniques, it aids women in confronting the emotional and psychological challenges tied to this transition. Online therapy, a modern and increasingly popular avenue, offers the same level of professional assistance, yet with the convenience of home-based access. This digital approach not only caters to women in remote locations but also to those with busy schedules. It’s vital to understand that these therapeutic options act as guiding pillars, assisting women through menopause, rather than dictating a singular approach.
How to support women going through menopause
Women need support. No matter who you are or how you identify, chances are high that you will find yourself in the company of a woman going through menopause sometime in your life, whether it is yourself or someone close to you.
Firstly, educate yourself. Understanding menopause, its symptoms, and its effects can help in offering meaningful support. Listening actively and without judgement is pivotal. Every woman’s experience with menopause is unique, and acknowledging this individuality is crucial. Moreover, helping them seek professional assistance, like a mental health coach, can be immensely beneficial. These coaches provide tailored advice, coping strategies, and offer a perspective grounded in expertise and empathy.
Secondly, be empathetic and patient. The physical and emotional fluctuations a woman undergoes during menopause can be overwhelming, not just for her, but for those around her as well. Displaying genuine empathy can make all the difference, helping her feel understood and valued. Extend a listening ear when she wants to talk, and give her space when she needs it. Patience is also key, especially during times when mood swings are prominent. Remember, it’s not just about enduring the tough times but actively being there, showing kindness and compassion.
Why menopause awareness month remains important
Menopause Awareness Month remains an important pillar of support and education for countless women navigating this completely natural part of life. The conversations spurred during this month enable a societal shift, moving away from misconceptions and towards empathy and understanding. Recognising the importance of resources like online therapy and mental health coaching in empowering women during this phase is paramount. By educating and raising awareness, Menopause Awareness Month ensures women feel seen, heard, and understood, fostering a culture of support and acceptance.
Join MindBerry in championing Menopause Awareness Month. Amplify the voices, share the knowledge (including this article), and let’s collectively create a more informed and compassionate community.