Eileen Bellot Founder of Hands Inc
This week we hear from Eileen Bellot, Founder of Hands Inc's Menopause Project, who talks about their aim to end the silence around the Menopause.
Q. What is the Menopause Project?
A. There are around 4 million women in the UK between the ages of 41 and 55 who are going through the menopause, yet there is still so much stigma and taboo associated with discussing anything below the waistline.
Hands Inc’s Menopause Project is an innovative approach that helps to create a safe platform where women can gain knowledge, explore, and share their experiences or curiosity about the menopause. We take a holistic approach to looking at the menopause and include lifestyle and attitudes towards ageing women as part of the programme.
After the first programme we quickly realised that this wasn’t just a problem for menopausal women and so we have been working with GP’s, City & Hackney CCG, Hackney Council’s Public Health Team and Public Health England to try and raise awareness about this important issue and improve services for women.
The Menopause Project helps me to feel safe talking about personal aspects of my menopause sharing problems that I've never shared with anyone before.' Programme Participant
Q. When was it founded?
A. The project started in 2012 when I was preparing the promotional materials for a menopause workshop. When I was looking for images to promote the event, I was shocked at the lack of positive images of women at this stage of their lives and then further by the fear of women not wanting to talk about menopause, as if they might fall ill and die from it!
Q. How do you provide support for women?
A. We run workshops, outreach events and support groups. We will be starting a new 12-week educational workshop in May for women wanting to explore the menopause and get knowledge to help them manage their symptoms. So please get in touch to book your space. Also, check out our Facebook and website pages for info about the monthly support groups.
We have two Facebook pages - one is a women only space called Reclaiming the Menopause. This is a closed group so you will have to send a request to join.
Additionally, we recognise that the impact of the menopause goes beyond the women experiencing it and so we’ve also created a general Facebook page called Reclaim the Menopause.
‘Because I finally made sense of what was happening to me, I was able to talk to my husband which helped to reduce tension in the bedroom’ Programme Participant
If you are not on Facebook don’t worry, our website www.reclaimthemenopause.com also has a range of information on the menopause and stories from women their experiences. If there are women out there who want to share a story please get in touch. Your story helps others to share theirs.
‘The supportive nature of the group was noteworthy. As well as sharing experiences, learners share strategies and ideas.’ Jill Gander, Community Development Manager, Hackney Learning Trust
Q. Why should women attend workshops?
A. Women tell us the biggest impact the programme has had for them is having a space to share and listen to other women, because there just isn’t this kind of space anywhere. The stigma attached to getting older and the menopause makes women feel silenced.
‘Before starting the programme the primary thing at the forefront of my mind was managing the anxiety of my menopause symptoms. My symptoms have reduced since learning about triggers and I feel less anxious about having a hot sweat, so its really helped me.’ Programme Participant
Workshops in May, book your place.
Are you experiencing difficult menopause symptoms or just curious to find out about the menopause? Come along to our friendly women's workshops or support group to share your experiences and explore the menopause. > Read more
Tel: 0203 051 8626