Black Health and Beyond is focused on impacting and empowering the lives of black people. Research shows that people from ethnic minority backgrounds, including black people in the United Kingdom (UK) are at higher risk of numerous health conditions, such as cardiovascular dieases (CVD), hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome - Public Health England (PHE).
Black Health and Beyond has a specialist interest in menopause. Black people are being diagnosed with menopause-related illnesses such as depression and diabetes. Menopause is not considered and it’s therefore no coincidence that menopausal black people are diagnosed with certain chronic diseases.
We need to recognise that black people face considerable amounts of discrimination in every area of our lives and that bleeds into and informs our experiences of healthcare.
It affects peoples’ confidence, not to mention the impact on their quality of life and makes people less likely to seek and/ or attend healthcare appointments or our access it worse.
There is a distinct imbalance in the knowledge available when it comes to gender and ethnicity in relation to health. There is a significant gap in the research in general on menopause, but couple the words black and menopause together and the research is non existent. One study conducted in 2007 on 22 Black, Minority and Ethnic (BME - an acronym which is a lazy way to generalise that all ethnic minorities are one homogeous group) groups click here.
Firstly, there are few black women and women from other ethnic minorities portrayed in the UK in the discussions about peri-menopause and menopause. The second issue that needs to be addressed is the varying terms such as BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic people) and POC (people of colour) when associated with the term menopause simply do not address the issue. Why? Each community has its own cultural differences that affect a woman’s menopausal experience. These acronyms are lazy and insulting. Understanding these differences would offer a new perspective for women like myself, suggest what to look out for and give choices to manage symptoms. It would also help encourage culturally competent conversations between other women and the great platforms out there and more importantly health care professionals.
Each and every one of us should be educated about menopause in order for a seed to be planted so that later on in life that seed can take root and we can make informed choices rather than be lost on our menopause travels.