Breaking the Stigma: Menopause and Mental Health

Women’s mental health is a topic that deserves attention and support.

Mental health problems are common in society, with women being particularly vulnerable to certain mental health conditions due to genetics, hormones, anatomy, neurology and psychosocial structures.

Women go through various stages of life that can affect their mental health, and menopause is a major one of them that until now has received very little attention.

What is the Impact of Menopause on Women’s Mental Health?

Menopause is caused by hormonal changes which arise as a woman gets older – typically occurring between the ages of 44 and 55. The menopausal transition, known as the perimenopause stage, is marked by various physical and psychological changes. These changes place women at a greater risk of developing poor mental health.

Hormonal changes during menopause can cause a decrease in serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. This can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Mental disorders can also greatly affect women’s health as they approach menopause, and for those who already had mental health issues, menopause can exacerbate these conditions.

What are common mental health issues faced by women going through menopause?

1. Suicide

The onset age of the menopausal stage has been associated with increased suicide rates. Among women, death by suicide is most common among those in the 45-49 age demographic, with the second highest rate in females being between the ages of 50-54 years.

2. Perimenopausal Depression

A common mental health problem among women approaching menopause is perimenopausal depression, which has a broad range of symptoms that can impact mental health.

Symptoms of perimenopausal depression include:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Low energy
  • Irritability
  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Issues with memory and concentration
  • Weight gain
  • A decrease in sexual interest
  • Paranoia

How can I improve my mental health during menopause?

Firstly, by reducing the stigma around menopause and women’s mental health in general, we can open up the conversation and make women feel less alone and more supported during this challenging time in their lives.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet, doing mindfulness exercises and exercising regularly can help to ease some menopausal symptoms.

There are also various medical and therapeutic treatments that you can talk to your doctor about if you feel these will help relieve some of the mental health impacts of menopause.

Everyone is different so always choose what is right for you.

The Women’s Mental Health Info Guide, provided for free by Shawmind, is an excellent resource for women seeking information on mental health.

The guide provides a wealth of information on the physical and psychological changes that women may experience during menopause and offers practical advice on how to manage mental health as a woman. Shawmind also provides tips for improving mental wellbeing through a variety of useful information guides, workshops and training courses.

Women’s Mental Health Support Services – Useful Contacts & Websites

Menopause Support Services

British Menopause Society

The Menopause Charity

Women’s Mental Health Support Services

Wellbeing of Women


Women’s Aid – Until Women and Children are Safe

Agenda – Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk

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