Our Menopauses: The Great Menopause Event
22 January 2018
“Our Menopauses” was a morning event run by Bristol University, Bristol City Council (BCC) and Bristol Women’s Commission at City Hall. Our aim was to provide a forum for learning about menopause from participants, clinicians and researchers, and for sharing experiences in a safe, fun way.
The event, held on the 18th November 2017, arose from needs identified in the research of Dr Isabel de Salis, University of Bristol: access to reliable information, sharing experiences to challenge the silence around menopause, and supporting progressive policies in work and the health-service. The free event was for those who have been/are/will be menopausal, with a personal rather than professional interest in menopause.
The format consisted of short talks, of which topics included: 'what is menopause'; 'what happens to you'; the diversity of experience, help-seeking and needs; personal stories; self-management, alternative therapies and HRT update; menopause in work; sex and intimacy. There were also Interactional sessions consisted of facilitated group discussions, dancing with fans, eating cake, and discussing sex.
Further action in Bristol
The feedback from participants was positive. Some of the ideas generated were:
- Specialist holistic menopause service to campaign and support GPs, research, women with complex needs and menopause in the workplace;
- Reliable, accurate health information e.g. a website;
- Annual menopause event for women in midlife, invited by GPs/ online modules MOOC
- Pop-up menopause cafes to provide a safe space for women to discuss midlife and menopause and to stop menopause being a lone process.
These findings will be included and promoted in the BCC Women’s Health Strategy. Dr de Salis is continuing to work with Bristol City Council to promote initiatives such as a specialised menopause service, promoting similar events elsewhere, and creating teaching packs/website/modules to disseminate to a wider audience. There is certainly feedback from different women’s organisations and BCC outreach for more sessions in deprived neighbourhoods.
Dr Isabel de Salis, Medical Anthropologist, Research Fellow
School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol