Carolyn Harris MP Delivers Menopause Talk at Morriston Fire Station

On Friday, August 4th, Carolyn Harris, Member of Parliament for Swansea East, visited Morriston Fire Station to deliver an informative and inspirational ‘Menopause at Work’ talk.

Menopause is a natural event and transition that women experience, however, the timing and symptoms are different for everyone.  Menopause and perimenopause (the period of time leading up to menopause) can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms such as brain fog, hot flushes, fatigue, itchy skin, anxiety and mood swings. 

The menopause affects everyone, either directly or indirectly, whether it’s a woman experiencing the process or a male friend or relative understanding and supporting them during this time.  Despite the majority of the population being affected in some way and the variety of symptoms, the menopause can often be misunderstood or misdiagnosed – with 41% of medical schools having no mandatory training on menopause.

During the session, Carolyn Harris MP, who is also Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause, spoke openly and honestly on her own experience of the perimenopause, including the effects the menopause can have on women’s home and work life, as well as the various support and treatments available.

Carolyn Harris MP said:

“Unfortunately, many women who are experiencing the menopause are not getting the right services and support available to them.

When I look back at my own experience, I thought I was experiencing a nervous breakdown, when in fact it was the symptoms of my perimenopause affecting me.  Since advocating for menopause support and seeking my own treatment, I’m now able to help and support other women through their own experiences.

One in ten women leave work because of their menopausal symptoms, however by raising awareness on the menopause to employers, my hope is that even small adjustments can be made to support women going through this process.”

The talk, which was attended by female and male operational and support staff, provided the opportunity for an open discussion on the effects of menopause, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Also in attendance was Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s (MAWWFRS) Chief Fire Officer, Roger Thomas, who said:

“I, and everyone else here today, have learnt a great deal and I would like to thank Carolyn Harris MP for holding such an open and honest talk today. 

MAWWFRS is committed to becoming a more inclusive organisation and I believe sessions such as today’s will not only help raise awareness but also destigmatise conditions such as menopause in order for us to adapt the way we work to support our colleagues who are experiencing this process.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority Member and Swansea City Council Councillor for Castle Ward, Patience Bentu, was also present.  Cllr Bentu said:

“I am delighted to have been invited here today for Carolyn’s talk which I’ve found incredibly valuable, especially for workplace conversations.

I’ve appreciated the opportunity to learn more on the advice, support and treatments available to women experiencing menopausal symptoms and as the MAWWFRS Diversity and Equality Champion, I look forward to being involved in making the Service more inclusive.”

Menopausal symptoms can last for months or years - the average is around four years - and can change with time.  The word ‘menopause’ actually refers to a single - when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row - the transition period leading up to this day is known as the perimenopause.

90% of women will get menopausal symptoms, for help and support, contact your GP or local pharmacist. 

Information, guidance and support are available here:

NHS Website

The Menopause Charity

Age UK

From left to right: Councillor Patience Bentu, Carolyn Harris MP and Chief Fire Officer Roger Thomas.

Carolyn Harris MP and Chief Fire Officer Roger Thomas.