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Friday, December 3, 2021

Menopause: Bereaved husband urges men to spot mental health signs


A bereaved husband has urged men to recognise signs of mental health symptoms linked to the menopause.

Linda Salmon, 56, committed suicide last April after her anxiety worsened as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Her husband, David, said he had no idea menopause could lead to suicidal thoughts.

“The physical side of symptoms you can see, but the mental ones are hidden,” Mr Salmon, of Keighley, West Yorkshire, explained.

Following his wife’s death, he saw a feature on the BBC’s Look North programme that made him realise how the menopause could affect mental health.

“I had no idea there were so many other symptoms,” he explained.

“I honestly thought the menopause was when you got a little warm and had a few mood swings, and then I saw the programme about suicide, and it all came together.”

He believes that if he and his wife had known more about the link, they would have sought potentially life-saving assistance.

Mrs Salmon, a mother of two, worked as a key worker in a supermarket during the national lockdown, but she was concerned about becoming ill with Covid.

She was absent from work due to anxiety, and she committed suicide a few days later.

Mr Salmon, who had been married to Linda for 41 years, said he believed the menopause had made a “significant contribution” to her mental state and that the pandemic had “pushed her over the edge.”

Understanding the menopause

  • The menopause describes the age when women’s periods stop and they can no longer become pregnant naturally.
  • It normally happens between 45 and 55, but can also be brought on by surgery to remove the ovaries or the womb. In the UK, the average age of menopause is 51.
  • It involves changes to hormones, specifically a reduction in oestrogen, which is key to the production of eggs during menstrual cycles.
  • The body can start to behave very differently and many women experience symptoms long before their periods actually stop – a phase known as the peri-menopause.
  • Symptoms of menopause can include hot flushes, night sweats, sleep problems, anxiety, low mood and a loss of interest in sex. Bladder problems and vaginal dryness are also common.

Learn more: What does the menopause do to the body?

Diane Danzebrink, who runs Menopause Support, said it was “no coincidence” that figures published by the Samaritans showed the highest rate of suicide among women was between the ages of 45 to 54.

“The vast majority of women will be peri-menopausal by the age of 45, with menopause occurring at an average age of 51.” It has become abundantly clear to those who work, campaign, and advocate in this field that this is not a coincidence.”

The 55-year-old from Northampton founded the organisation in response to her struggle with menopause, which was brought on by surgery, and the lack of assistance she received.

She claimed that her mental health had rapidly deteriorated and that she suffered from “crippling anxiety” that prevented her from leaving the house.

Diane Danzebrink said she regularly heard from women who were not getting the right support

“I didn’t answer the phone anymore. I wouldn’t even open the mail because I was convinced that every letter would contain bad news “She stated.

She would frequently wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks, but she was “too terrified” to go to the doctor because she believed she was going insane.

“Eventually it got to the point where I remember standing in my bedroom and thinking if this is my life, I don’t think I want it any longer,” Ms Danzebrink continued.

Ms Danzebrink said she sought medical help after coming “within a whisper” of attempting suicide.

Her doctor identified her behaviour as a result of menopause, and she began Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

She stated: “We successfully advocated for the inclusion of menopause in the school curriculum to ensure that all young people have a basic understanding that will help them as they progress through life.

“However, we now require better information for the entire population so that people can help themselves, their partners, family, friends, or colleagues.”

Mr Salmon stated that he now wants to assist other partners and families in recognising symptoms so that he can prevent others from suffering as he has.

“We need to talk about it and educate people about it.” “It’s not just the physical side of it,” he explained.

“If you find yourself in a similar situation, I would advise you to assist your wife, hold her hand, and help her get through it.”

“You don’t want to be where I am right now; no one needs to do that.”

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