As May rolls in, adorned with its spring blooms and warm breezes (anyone felt any of those yet?), it also marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Month—a time to shine a light on the often shadowed corners of mental wellbeing. It’s a perfect opportunity for us to zoom in on a subject that’s frequently overlooked and misunderstood: mental health during perimenopause.

While it’s widely acknowledged that perimenopause brings about physical changes like irregular periods and hot flushes, the impact on mental health is often downplayed or overlooked altogether.

The truth is, perimenopause can be a turbulent journey for many women, both physically and emotionally. Hormonal fluctuations during this time can wreak havoc on neurotransmitters, leading to mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Yet, societal narratives and even healthcare providers often fail to recognise or address these mental health challenges, dismissing them as mere symptoms of ‘low mood’ or ‘midlife crisis.’

One of the most pervasive misconceptions is the belief that menopause-related mood changes are solely caused by fluctuating hormones. While hormones undoubtedly play a significant role, they’re not the sole culprit. Psychosocial factors, such as life stressors, relationship dynamics, and societal expectations, can exacerbate and even overshadow hormonal influences on mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, the stigma surrounding menopause and mental health compounds the issue, leaving many women feeling ashamed or embarrassed to seek help. Society’s dismissal of menopause as a natural, albeit uncomfortable, phase of life often minimises the profound impact it can have on a woman’s mental and emotional health.

It’s crucial to recognise that experiencing mental health challenges during perimenopause is not a sign of weakness or inadequacy. Rather, it’s a natural response to a significant life transition—one that deserves validation, support, and understanding.

So, how can we better support women navigating mental health during perimenopause?

First and foremost, we must normalise conversations about menopause and mental health. By breaking the silence and destigmatising these topics, we create space for women to share their experiences openly and seek the support they need.

Education is also key. Both healthcare providers and the general public must be informed about the multi-faceted nature of perimenopausal mental health. This includes understanding the interplay between hormones, psychosocial factors, and mental wellbeing, as well as recognising the diverse range of symptoms women may experience.

Empathy and validation are powerful tools in supporting women through this journey. Rather than dismissing their struggles, it’s essential to acknowledge and validate their experiences, letting them know they’re not alone and that their feelings are valid.

Beyond what we can do, healthcare providers play a crucial role in addressing perimenopausal mental health. By taking a holistic approach that considers both physical and emotional symptoms, providers can offer more comprehensive care and support tailored to each woman’s unique needs.

Finally, women themselves must prioritise self-care and advocacy for their mental health. This may involve seeking out supportive communities (hello Owning Your Menopause app!), exercising their bodies in ways that work for women in this period of their lives and practicing stress-reduction techniques, and advocating for their needs within healthcare settings.

Aside from the many physical benefits you’ll enjoy as part of your Owning Your Menopause membership, being part of a community of women who are all sharing their experiences of this unique stage of life helps such a lot.

And, to welcome in this special new month which will hopefully bring some warmer weather and some motivation for you to get on top of any symptoms you’re experiencing, join us on the app now for our 12 Ways and 12 Days Reset.

We can’t wait to support you to live life fully in this exciting new chapter.