Suicide rates rise in menopausal women
‘WE CANNOT LET THEM SUFFER’
RATES of suicide among women in the most common age group for menopause have risen, research shows.
In the last 20 years, suicide rates among women aged between 45 and 54, which is the most common age to begin experiencing menopause or perimenopause, have risen by 6 per cent.
Research by Menopause Experts Group revealed that the worrying rise defies a trend for falling rates among older women.
By comparison, the rate for 65 to 69-year-olds was only 3.7 per 100,000 in the latest figures.
Suicide rates for older women fell by 50 per cent from 1981 to 1994, and rates have continued to drop since for those aged over 55, according to researchers.
But the rates for women aged 45 to 54 have bucked the trend, and since the late 1990s, suicide rates for 45 to 54-year-olds have been rising.
Earlier this year, Labour MP for Swansea East, Carolyn Harris, led the fight to improve support for women facing the menopause.
Her private members’ bill was passed through Parliament earlier this year, leading the government to confirm changes to reduce the cost of hormone replacement therapy prescriptions.
In October, shadow minister for social care, Leicester West MP Liz Kendall, addressed the Commons to highlight the challenges women in menopause are facing.
Revealing her personal experience, she said: “To be honest I’m not sure when the symptoms started, but they’d been building steadily over the last year.
“The quite frankly terrifying sense of anxiety and panic that I had never ever experienced before – feeling completely and utterly exhausted, sore, and aching all over wondering in the evening if I could make it upstairs to go to bed, let alone exercise, that’s always been such an important part of my life.
“The itching, hair loss and just feeling downright low, and above all, what I can only describe as the catastrophically bad sleep night after night after night, finally emerging in the morning drenched with sweat thinking, ‘how on Earth am I going to make it through the day?.’”
Many women face a range of symptoms including depression, weight gain and exhaustion, which are often misdiagnosed.
Menopause Experts Group is calling on women who are struggling with stress, anxiety and depression to seek help from services such as The Samaritans.
Dee Murray, founder and chief executive at Menopause Experts Group, said: “Menopause affects every woman differently, but for many, it can bring unpleasant physical, emotional and psychological symptoms that can be challenging to deal with.
“Mental health issues like depression, anxiety and stress are hard to deal with, and many women will not know that they can commonly be caused by menopause. We cannot ignore what is happening or let these women suffer.”