A Month After Another Force Brought In ‘Have A Cry’ Rooms
By Sebastian Murphy-bates: Police have recruited a hypnotherapist to help female staff through the menopause while another force has set up crying rooms.
West Midlands Police has brought in expert Steve Woods to work with ladies going through the change.
The force has a regular support group for those experiencing related health problems at work.
Mr Woods runs his company from Cannock, Staffordshire, and attended a menopause meeting at the Birmingham headquarters last week.
He specialises in wellbeing at work and said menopausal women had already expressed their gratitude following the initial session.
'We are going to be doing it on a regular basis, and looking at creating products that may be useful to them, audio recordings and all sorts of things,' he said.
'At that initial meeting we got some really good feedback. It was a learning exercise on both sides - them and me - as being a man menopause is not something I know a massive amount about.
'I had a lot of learning to do as well, we did some work and they really got some benefits. It’s an ongoing project.
'Hypnosis is very much experiential, because it’s all about experiencing things under hypnosis.
'In the case of menopause, the most common thing people think about is the night sweats and the lack of temperature control and that sort of thing.
'You can teach people self hypnosis so they can use their mind to go off to somewhere with a nice cool refreshing breeze and they feel the effects of that.
'One of the ladies emailed me back after saying she’d had the best night’s sleep in ages and another said she’d felt better than she had in a long time just after that group session that we did.
'Almost any symptom, if you can imagine yourself without it, then you can use hypnosis to bring that about. It’s a case of structuring a process that people can make use of without using lots of time.
'They aren’t going to self-hypnotise for an hour, but they can for two or three minutes and people can use that and benefit from it.
'I can’t change the menopause but hopefully I can give them some tools to manage it better, even if it’s just better sleep.'
It comes after West Midlands Chief Constable Dee Collins appeared on the Lorraine show last year to encourage other employers to adopt a sensitive approach.
At the time she said: ‘I think there should be a duty on employers to consider the impact of menopause in the workplace and I think it’s actually the right thing to do under the health and wellbeing approach - that people are more aware of what the issues are and what they can do to support women.
'What I want to do is spread the word beyond policing, into the public and private sectors, because anybody who is an employer needs to think about this as an issue.'
Many complain of sweats, lack of concentration and memory issues. Several forces now run menopause education sessions for staff.
Nottinghamshire Police have even opened up ‘crying rooms’ for women going through the change who feel emotional.
Former Chief Constable Sue Fish, who retired last year, discovered women were leaving the force after suffering menopausal symptoms.
'It was just a waste of talent,' she said at the time. 'Bringing in a policy was absolutely the right thing to do.'
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said: 'Steve was invited to a meeting to talk about his services.
'There was no endorsement or costs involved in this, just an information session provided as part of our ongoing support to colleagues through the menopause support forum.
'Our intention is to provide information to enable people to make their own minds up, as part of a broader commitment to long-term health and well-being.'
The average age for the menopause in the UK is 51. There are 35 associated symptoms.