Menopause putting women at risk of suicide

Manopausal woman

Photo by SB Arts Media at Shutterstock

A recent study has shown that mental health services are not taking into account the impact of menopause which is leaving women at a higher risk of suicide.

The study, which examined the suicide of a 56-year-old health worker found that menopause isn’t routinely considered when women are treated for low mood.

Patient Safety Investigators said in the report that mental health can deteriorate in midlife and this can put women at risk of psychotic disorders or suicide around the time of menopause. It also stated that many women were offered ant-depressants when hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be a better alternative.

The Healthcare Investigation Branch (HSIB) made a number of recommendations in the report. They asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to evaluate available research “relating to the risks associated with menopause on mental health and if appropriate, update existing guidelines:”

HSIB also said The Royal College of Psychiatrists should form a working group to identify ways in which menopause can be considered during mental health assessments.

NHS  trusts often use checklists for suicide risk assessment although evidence has shown that they do not predict the risk of suicide 95 per cent of the time and NICE suggests they should not be used.

Instead, the NHS has written to all mental health trusts in England asking them to take a person-centred approach and to steer away from using tools to assess people’s risk of self-harm and suicide.

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Written by

Julia Cameron

Julia is an ex-pat writer from Brighton living in a small village close to the Andalucian town of Priego de Cordoba. When she's not working she enjoys reading, tracing her ancestry and swimming. She especially loves the summer when she can get down to the coast and chill on the beach.