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Did you know that Hillcrest has a staff ratio of 732 female employees to 371 male employees? (Stats as at 23/08/2022).
53.33% of our female staff are within the age bracket of 35 – 60 years and are either near to experiencing perimenopause, are in the middle of menopause, or have just gone through menopause. There was once a time when menopause was a forbidden word, known as ‘the change’ and typified by mood swings, hot flushes and changes to skin, hair and body. It was nothing to celebrate, and certainly not spoken about.
In today’s world, however, a much different social narrative around menopause is emerging. Thanks to tireless campaigning, menopause is no longer the taboo topic it once was. Just this week, MPs have been calling for menopause health checks for all women over 45, and an all-party group report is also calling for more workplace support and training for health workers.
At Hillcrest, we recognise that our staff may be adversely affected by their experience (direct or indirect) of all stages of the menopause, and as such, we are striving to foster an environment where our employees feel they are supported. By running regular ‘drop in’ menopause cafes, we offer our staff the opportunity to chat, share their experiences and gain access to resources. We’ve also implemented an HR Menopause policy, and have established Menopause Champions and Mental Health Peer Workers who are on hand to provide help for anyone in need of support or advice.
Dealing with menopause at work can be challenging, as some staff at our Millview service can testify to. When asked how menopause has impacted on their work, one colleague advised that “dealing with symptoms such as hot flushes and mood swings can be very challenging, particularly when having to maintain professional standards”. Another commented that “menopause affects my temperament a lot, and I still have days when my mood can be very low and I cannot concentrate on anything. This can affect my work as I sometimes feel overwhelmed by everything I need to do.”
When asked what sort of strategies could be put in place to support our colleagues through menopause at work, the responses centred on communication and raising awareness of the symptoms. One colleague suggested that “all staff (male and female) should be informed of how menopause can affect those going through it, and how this in turn can impact on their work”. Another said “talking about it and sharing how you feel is really beneficial”.
Jacqui Treays, Hillcrest Menopause Champion says: “We have systems and processes in place to support and make adjustments for women when their body changes to accommodate pregnancy. We need the same care and consideration as our bodies adjust to no longer requiring its reproductive function. At Hillcrest we want our staff who are experiencing any stage of menopause to feel that they can talk openly about this and that they will be supported by providing resources, information and signposting so that they get the right help at the right time. We have been so lucky to have some of our staff share their experiences, to open up the conversation and start breaking down that taboo…and we’ve only just started”.