Our Staff Wellbeing Hub is two years old this autumn. It's a place where people can find resources to help keep themselves well, to get help either from external organisations or from our Wellbeing Champions (including trained Mental Health First Aiders) and to find ways to connect with other staff for support or for fun.
The latest addition to our wellbeing offer is our Menopause Café, which launched (virtually, for now) in September. It's been set up by three of our managers; Debbie Timmins (Compliance Manager), Mo Arthur (Registered Manager, Bury Shared Lives) and Ruth Holder (Registered Manager, Elmhurst Short Stay), to destigmatise the menopause and empower and support all our staff, as well as informing managers and co-workers. In an organisation where 60% of the workforce are 50 years old or over and 80% are women, the menopause is a major factor in our people's wellbeing, whether they are living with it themselves or seeing a loved one, colleague or customer going through it.
What made you decide to get involved in a Menopause Café?
"Having attended a Menopause Café at The Green Café for a year in 2018, it was something I’ve wanted to start for a while and now just seemed like the right time. It fits in perfectly with our wellbeing offer and I’m happy to volunteer my time to make it happen, including becoming a Wellbeing Champion for the menopause. I discussed it with management and HR, who thought it was a great idea and so I spoke to a few colleagues to see if they would be interested in helping set it up. They have been involved in putting the wheels in motion with the format and how we can involve customers, carers and staff."
"Over the last few months when I have got together with friends of my age, we all seem to drift over to the conversation of the menopause; following recent media coverage this topic is now being discussed openly within groups. So when I heard about the chance to have a Menopause Café for Persona, I really wanted to be part of this and to create a safe place people can meet to get support and be listened to."
How do you think they are helpful?
"I've personally found the Menopause Cafés I've attended really beneficial, just to hear other people’s experiences (good and bad) and how they have managed (or not) their symptoms. Most of all it showed me how important it is to know you are not going through this on your own and how supportive everyone is to each other. It’s also a great way of learning about new things that you might not have heard of before and how they have worked for others (although everyone’s experience will be different). I was expecting the group at The Green Café to be full of older ladies, but was really surprised by the range of ages that attended. The youngest was in her early 30’s, having gone through cancer treatment which triggered the menopause; the oldest was in her 80’s, having come through the other side."
"People coming together and sharing their experiences and ideas of how things have helped them, also knowing that you are not alone. It's great to meet people going through the different stages, one thing is for sure the menopause is unique to each of us and someone else’s experiences and how they have managed can be just what you need to hear."
What are your hopes and plans for Persona’s Menopause Café?
"I hope the Menopause Café becomes somewhere people can meet in a safe environment to talk about any issues they have, or just listen to others. Somewhere we can support each other. We are not experts and cannot diagnose anything, but we can point people to organisations who may be able to help and our page on the Wellbeing Hub will be growing with useful information like websites, blogs and podcasts, as well as a monthly update on resources and ideas people have shared in the café, for anyone who can't make it to that month’s meeting. Whilst the initial Menopause Cafés have been set up during working hours, we are open to suggestions from any staff who'd like to attend, about different times and days we could meet up to suit them. When the time is right, we hope to have face to face meetings somewhere too."
"I would hope the Persona Menopause Café will be a place that everyone feels included, that it's a social event for us to share information, listen and support each other. That staff can be signposted to the café for additional help if they are struggling. That any speakers and therapists who might join the sessions bring new ideas to the group. The café is for everyone involved in Persona to come to and in time this can be face to face."
Find out more about the benefits we offer people who work for us here.