Marking Mental Health Awareness Week: Our tribe and the menopause

Marking Mental Health Awareness Week: Our tribe and the menopause
10 May 2022

In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May) is an annual event dedicated to giving an opportunity for the whole of the nation to focus on achieving good mental health. Taking inspiration from this and to coincide with it, Ricardo’s Global Mental Wellness Week is about enabling all our teams around the world to get together whether virtually or in person to raise awareness of mental health and actively promote good mental wellness and wellbeing.

Here, Gill Pabst, who is Head of Internal Communications and Knowledge Management for our Energy and Environment business unit, shares her personal story to raise awareness of what the menopause means for our mental health, remind each other that we are not alone, and describes the understanding and support that we can all give to each other.

“This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s a time to raise awareness, talk about our feelings and remind ourselves that here at Ricardo we are a tribe. A tribe who are passionate about the environment, working hard and doing well. A friendly and supportive tribe, diverse and welcoming. We’re also a tribe predominantly made up of quiet worker bees who possibly don’t want to be visible and loud and draw attention to themselves. Maybe a large proportion of us are introverts and just want to keep their head down and get on with it.”

“I’m an introvert. I struggle with insomnia and I have taken various medications for depression and anxiety for a large part of my adult life. I’m also having an early menopause after surgery last year. Menopause is something that will affect most women between the ages of 40 and 58 but is possibly one of the least spoken about ailments I can think of. Indeed, it would be probably be easier or more comfortable to tell your male boss you have chronic diarrhoea than you are struggling with your menopause.”

“I’m speaking up not because I want the attention but because I can use my voice to ask for support from around my tribe to help others in the same position. Menopause isn’t just about having hot flushes. At times, it is debilitating and can make you exhausted, emotional, lost, depressed, confused, anxious, angry, forgetful, panicked and overwhelmed. It is hideous. I’m asking you as my tribe to look out for your colleagues and if they seem to be suffering offer them support.” 

“One of the cheesiest bits of ‘Instagram Wisdom’ I have seen is along the lines of: ‘most of us are fighting a battle that others know nothing about.’ Mental health and menopause can be a massive battle for lots of people; however, we can be there for one another and prop each other up.”

“Women going through the menopause might not want to mention that sometimes they burst into tears for no reason or are sat in a meeting room desperately trying to concentrate but can’t as they are boiling hot and feel like their head may explode. Someone else may be unable to concentrate as their crippling anxiety kept them up all night.”

“These things can affect anyone. Let’s remember who our tribe are and remind each other that we are not alone. We are bound by our shared passion and we succeed as a team.”