Leeds mental health trust to stage first ever Menopause Festival for staff

A Leeds based health trust is staging the first of its kind Menopause Festival for care staff to support them living through the menopause.

By Daniel Sheridan
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 11:45 am

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The festival by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, at Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre on Saturday April 9, will bring together 27 special guests including Yorkshire-based menopause experts and holistic wellbeing practitioners to provide advice on how to cope better with menopausal symptoms and where to find additional help and support.

The varied programme includes talks, Q&A sessions, facilitated reflective spaces and holistic wellbeing stalls alongside activities including dance, art, poetry and yoga.

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Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Expert guests will be there to provide advice on a wide range of topics including treatments, symptoms management, sleep, nutrition and sex, the trust said.

Just over 72 per cent of the Trust’s 3,000 strong workforce are women, with 53 per cent currently over 40.

Alex Cowman, the Trust’s Head of Staff Wellbeing, said: “Just after I joined the Trust in 2021, a colleague contacted me and very openly shared her struggle with the menopause, and the fact that she had found it extremely difficult to find any support whilst at work.

"I decided to set up a monthly Menopause Support Group, and she kindly co-facilitated the first group with me.

Dr Ella Russell

“It became clear early on that there are a lot of women who can’t go down the traditional path of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), due to past cancer diagnosis or other medical issues, so as well as supporting colleagues through that journey, it was important to share information of what else is available. Myself and colleagues from Leeds Recovery College started having a conversation about hosting a staff event specifically for the menopause, and so we have collaborated with them to bring our first festival to life.

Places for the festival must be booked in advance and the event is open to all health and care staff in Leeds, along with their friends and family.

Further information about the event along with the programme and booking link can be found online.

Dr Clare Spencer is a registered menopause specialist and an NHS GP and is one of the guest speakers. As well as her role of Clinical Director at My Menopause Centre, she currently runs an NHS menopause service and is a GP partner in a practice in Leeds.

Dr Clare Spencer

She is also a British Menopause Society menopause trainer and is involved in educating GPs about the menopause transition through talks, lectures and seminars.

Clare said: “While working as a GP I noticed a need for increased awareness and understanding of the menopause transition amongst my patients. I could see how their menopause symptoms were having a detrimental impact on all aspects of their lives and decided to qualify as a menopause specialist. I am passionate about educating, empowering and supporting all women through all stages of their menopause transition.

“It is great to be able to talk about and share evidence-based information on the menopause to all the staff who can come to this special event. When it comes to the menopause, knowledge is power. We know that women who are better prepared for the menopause have a more positive experience as they transition through. I will talk about the menopause - what it is, demystify the symptoms and bust any myths that surround options for managing the menopause, including HRT.”

Dr Ella Russell, also known as the 'Yorkshire menopause Doctor’, is another key guest speaker.

She specialises in supporting women who are transitioning through the perimenopause or who are post-menopausal.

Ella added: “I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to support this unique event that has been organised to celebrate and support women of all ages who may want to understand more about the perimenopause and menopause. It highlights the commitment from the Trust to recognise, support and empower colleagues who may be struggling with their symptoms at home and work but also recognises that the health and wellbeing of women in their midlife is a priority for us all."

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