Understanding Suicidal Ideation

suicidal ideation

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the mental health challenges that women face during menopause, particularly concerning the alarming prevalence of suicidal ideation. According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), suicide rates among women in the United Kingdom have remained relatively consistent, with a notable concentration in the age group of 50 to 54 years. In 2022, the rate stood at 5.4 deaths per 100,000, with the highest rate observed in women aged 50 to 54 years.


The correlation between menopause and increased suicidal tendencies in women demands our attention and understanding. The average age of menopause, around 51, coincides with the peak in suicidal rates, suggesting a potential link between hormonal fluctuations and mental health vulnerabilities. During menopause, the decline in oestrogen levels can trigger severe episodes of depression and exacerbate existing mental health conditions, leading to suicidal thoughts.


It’s crucial to recognise the signs and triggers of suicidal ideation during menopause. Symptoms such as persistent sadness, hopelessness, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, and withdrawal from social activities should not be overlooked. Additionally, past traumas and strained relationships, both current and historical, can significantly contribute to the emotional turmoil experienced during this transitional phase.


Addressing mental health concerns during menopause requires a multifaceted approach. Medical interventions, including menopause hormone therapy (MHT) or antidepressants, may help alleviate symptoms for some women. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that treatment plans should be tailored to individual needs and preferences, with a thorough consideration of potential risks and benefits.


In addition to medical interventions, alternative therapies and holistic approaches can offer valuable support. Mindfulness practices, acupuncture, and dietary adjustments have shown promise in managing menopausal symptoms and improving overall well-being. Importantly, seeking professional help and guidance is paramount in navigating this complex terrain.


Systemic psychotherapy, a form of counselling that explores relational dynamics and past experiences, can be particularly beneficial for women experiencing mental health challenges during menopause. By delving into underlying issues and providing a safe space for exploration and healing, systemic psychotherapy empowers individuals to make meaningful changes and cultivate resilience.


Efforts to raise awareness and enhance understanding of menopausal mental health are gaining momentum.  Presentations like The Menopause Consortium’s (TMCs) presentation on “Safeguarding Adults in Menopause” are instrumental in educating healthcare professionals about the unique needs of menopausal women and equipping them with the tools to provide compassionate and effective care. By fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the healthcare community, we can ensure that women receive the support and treatment they deserve during this critical phase of life.


Addressing mental health issues during menopause, including suicidal ideation, requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach. By recognizing the impact of hormonal changes, understanding potential triggers, and embracing a range of treatment options, we can empower women to navigate this transitional period with resilience and hope. Together, through education, advocacy, and supportive interventions, we can work towards a future where menopausal women receive the care and support they need to thrive.