Free Menopause Resources Launched for Veterinary Teams

BVRA News

Free menopause resources to reduce the impact of physical and psychological symptoms associated with perimenopause for veterinary team members has been launched by WellVet. The resources, including information and practical advice based on the pillars of lifestyle medicine and the neuropsychology of hormones, are aimed at both individuals impacted directly and those wanting to support them.

The first instalment of nine 5-30 minute bitesize videos are accessible now on the WellVet website: https://www.wellvet.co.uk/resources/menopause-resources-for-veterinary-teams/.

The content includes Dr. Claire Gillvray, founder of Gillvray Health, GP, Lifestyle Medicine specialist and psychiatrist with a special interest in women’s health, presenting an introduction to menopause and talks on treatment options and stress management. Practical sessions with Dr. Chloe Hannigan, vet, qualified yoga instructor and founder of VetYogi, aid symptom management through breathwork, meditation and yoga. In addition, neuropsychologist and coach Dr. Libby Kemkaran, describes how hormones impact the brain and how to mitigate symptoms. A further two instalments will be released in September and October this year, with 27 videos in total.

Following publication of the 2020 Report on Menopause in the Veterinary Profession, its co-author and WellVet co-founder, Dr Liz Barton felt compelled to develop support resources. Liz said, “We now know that nearly half of veterinary team members experience a moderate-severe impact of perimenopause symptoms on their mental health, and a third report a significant impact on their working life and career. A staggering 90% of respondents said they would like to know more about the impact of menopause from both a personal and team perspective. That’s just too high!

“Since publication of the report, I have felt compelled to raise awareness, understanding and provide support. I’m delighted to launch these resources created specifically for veterinary teams, which have the potential to improve the health and working life for so many.”

Dr. Claire Gillvray, highlighted that menopause affects all of us; “While we tend to focus on the individual, we all have friends, family, colleagues and clients who will experience symptoms impacting their mental and physical health and relationships. Although some women transition through the menopause with no problems, many women suffer a multiplicity of debilitating symptoms. These symptoms can be devastating and the medical advice they receive can be extremely variable, with some doctors dismissing perimenopause. Though onset can be earlier, symptoms typically occur between the ages of 40-60 years and can last for a decade or more, and there can be severe health impacts including cardiovascular, neurological and orthopaedic disease.

“These videos will empower individuals to take control of their symptom monitoring, have meaningful conversations with medical professionals, and trial lifestyle adjustments that may improve their health and wellbeing.”

VetYogi, Dr. Chloe Hannigan, describes the power of mindfulness and movement to manage hormonal symptoms; “There is a significant and growing body of scientific evidence for the power of breathwork, meditation and movement in mitigating the effects of hormonal fluctuations on mental and physical wellbeing. These techniques can be applied not only throughout perimenopause, but also to alleviate symptoms associated with menstruation. It is an honour to empower women in veterinary with these tools to help through multiple phases of life.”

Dr. Libby Kemkaran advocates  interventions to change neurological balance within the brain, saying, “Through my research I have developed coaching practices that include the powerful impact of somatic interventions, including breathwork. It’s incredibly empowering to understand what these actually do within the brain – in the moment and cumulatively over time – literally resetting and rewiring where the drop in hormones leave a gap. This is really important stuff that could help all of us.”

Dr. Libby Kemkaran advocates for both the biochemical knowledge of what is going on within the brain, and then doing something about it with self-led interventions to change your neurological balance. She says, “Through my research I have developed coaching practices that include the powerful impact of subconscious and somatic interventions together. It’s incredibly empowering to understand what these actually do within the brain – both in the moment and cumulatively over time – to literally tame your brain by resetting and rewiring where the drop in hormones leaves a gap. This is really important stuff that can help all of us.”

Liz believes this will be the most impactful initiative WellVet has hosted, “We saw a significant shift in the way we think and talk about mental health and wellbeing through the 2010s. Now we need the same to happen with menopause. In a predominantly female profession facing a workforce crisis, it’s vital we support team members in the workplace. The perimenopause years are the peak ages for women to die by suicide, and the most common perimenopause symptoms are psychological. We MUST do more to provide meaningful support.

She includes a rallying cry for the industry to play its part, “I have to extend a huge thanks to the sponsors without whose support and encouragement these resources could not have been created. We would welcome additional support, especially from veterinary employers, to continue developing and hosting these resources, and most importantly to encourage all their team members to access the content so they can give and receive support at this challenging life stage.”

WellVet is also exploring research collaborations to better understand the impact on veterinary team members. Anyone interested in getting involved or sponsoring the next phases of this vital work is warmly invited to contact liz@wellvet.co.uk.

 

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