What is the menopause?

The menopause is a natural and inevitable stage of a woman’s life that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years where women experience are range of symptoms which can be quite severe and have a significant impact on everyday activities.   

The following short video aims to provide further information about what the menopause is, the symptoms and where to go to for support or how to support those experiencing the menopause.

Guide to the menopause for first line supervisors

The NPCC Women’s Health Board, in partnership with HeForShe and the national Menopause Action Group, have launched a first line supervisor’s guide to the menopause.

As a supervisor, you are likely to support someone who is going through the menopause at some point during your career. This guide provides you with all of the information you need to understand what the menopause is and how you can provide practical and emotional support to your staff. This guide aims to give supervisors the confidence to make speaking about the menopause more acceptable in the workplace.

Download the guide

National menopause guidance for policing

This national guidance has been published by the College of Policing, in collaboration with the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), the Police Federation, Unison, and the Menopause Action Group.

The guidance offers support to women in the police service who are going through the menopause and addresses the potential impact of menopause transition on quality of working life, performance at work, and highlights the benefits of supportive interventions and line management.

Download your copy using the button below.

Download guidance (pdf)

Menopause action group (MAG)

Created in 2013, the menopause action group is responsible for setting and driving the local, regional, and national direction and strategy for managing issues involving the menopause within the police service.

The purpose of this group is to share best practice and better understand the impact of the menopause in workplace environments.

There is also a MAG specific page on the UK policing Knowledge Hub that provides a forum to exchange ideas, as well as a library of documents including case studies. 

If you work in UK policing you can sign up or login by clicking the button below.

Go to the Knowledge Hub

Women’s Health Strategy for England 

This Autumn saw the launch of the government’s 10-year strategy for women’s health which outlines the ambitions and the actions they are taking to improve the health and wellbeing of women and girls in England. This follows the publishing of the call for evidence from 2021, which received almost 100,000 responses from women across the country, and over 400 written submissions from organisations and experts in health and care, which helped shape and inform the strategy.

In addition, Professor Dame Lesley Regan has been appointed as the Women’s Health Ambassador for England, who will have oversight of the delivery of the strategy.

Ambitions for the Women’s Health Strategy include, boosted health outcomes for all women and girls and radical improvements to the way in which the health and care system engages and listens to all women and girls.  This will be achieved by:

  • taking a life course approach
  • focusing on women’s health policy and services throughout their lives
  • embedding hybrid and wrap-around services as best practice
  • boosting the representation of women’s voices and experiences in policymaking, and at all levels of the health and care system

The strategy goes on to highlight priority areas that relate to specific conditions or areas of health where the call for evidence highlighted particular issues or opportunities: menstrual health and gynaecological conditions; fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and postnatal support; menopause; mental health and wellbeing; cancers; the health impacts of violence against women and girls and healthy ageing and long-term conditions

The strategy also sets out a 6-point long-term plan for transformational change. 

National lead for menopause 

Maria Fox is a temp chief superintendent in West Midlands Police serving as local policing commander at Sandwell. 

She started her policing career with GMP in July 1994 and has served in two police forces, GMP and WMP.  She was promoted to detective chief inspector in February 2005 and has since served 17 years in senior leadership roles, undertaking the breadth and depth of operational policing in crime and uniform.

Those roles have included firearms and public order command, homicide and complex crime investigations, kidnap, force incident manager, local policing roles and regional prevent co-ordinator in counter terrorism prior to returning to local policing superintendent role in August 2021.   

During 2020 Maria suffered a combination of physical and mental health symptoms that eventually overtook her and resulted in burn out and chronic fatigue when she reported sick in October 2020. 

Amongst her accumulating symptoms she had suffered acute peri-menopausal stress, an episode of thrombophlebitis, a DVT, ECG irregularities [SVT], and had slipped into the obese category in terms of her BMI at 30.5.  

It was at this point that Maria undertook her own journey to try and navigate her health back on track. You can watch this recent presentation featuring Maria’s inspirational health journey: 

Watch video

In August this year Maria was appointed as the National Menopause Lead, part of CC Winward’s NPCC Women’s Health work. Maria said:

“I recognise the important and valuable work that has already been undertaken to help support those colleagues going through the menopause, as well as those in supporting roles. I will continue in my new role, to be an advocate and champion to help raise awareness for issues that affect women’s health specifically the menopause.”

Other menopause resources