On May 1, 2024, at the House of Commons, a University College London (UCL) team of researchers announced details about the UK’s first menopause education and support network.

Last year, experts at UCL teamed up with leading women’s health charities to design a new education and support programme for women across the country experiencing menopause.

Since then, the team have been listening to the public through a survey, focus groups and workshop, to co-design the programme.

The programme will be called ‘In Tune’. It will allow people to be in tune with menopause, in tune with their bodies, and in tune with each other.

Two other programmes are also in development. The main programme will be aimed at people experiencing perimenopause (when symptoms have started) and menopause (when periods have stopped) and will be modelled on antenatal classes, combining education and peer support, and will be rigorously evaluated using complex intervention frameworks.

In the summer of 2024, the team said it would be launching “Be Prepared for Menopause”, aimed at women and people under 40 who have not reached perimenopause, and men to improve menopause awareness and knowledge.

For both programmes, interactive teaching methods will be used. The programmes will be accessible and utilise evidence-based menopause education and support to improve menopause awareness for everyone who needs it.

The programmes will be offered both online and face-to-face.

Joyce Harper, a professor of reproductive science at UCL, Shema Tariq, a Clinical Research Fellow in sexual health and HIV at UCL, and Nicky Keay, an honorary clinical lecturer at UCL, lead the team.

It is in partnership with the charities Wellbeing of Women and Sophia Forum and has the support of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and British Menopause Society (BMS).

An advisory group of key stakeholders has also been providing critical guidance.

Joyce said, “We need to teach everyone about their reproductive health at key life stages and menopause education is critical. Too many people enter this life stage with no idea what is going to happen to them, and it seriously affects their quality of life. This has to change. Our name ‘In Tune’ reflects that women should be in tune with their menopause, in tune with their bodies and in tune with each other.”

Recent research led by Joyce has shown that more than 90 per cent of women were never educated about menopause at school. Over 60 per cent only started looking for information about it once they began to experience menopausal symptoms.

The event at the House of Commons discussed the need to provide education and support for menopause and was chaired by Carolyn Harris MP, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Menopause, and Professor Dame Lesley Regan.

Speaking at the event, Carolyn Harris praised the "fantastic” initiative for giving women information and support about the menopause that is currently so difficult to access. She said, “A lot of women come to the realisation, when they are quite old and desperate, that if I knew then what I know now, it would have been a completely different life path.”

Over the last year the UCL team have made inclusion a priority and in their research have included those with early menopause, surgical menopause, breast cancer, as well as people who are neurodiverse, culturally diverse and from the LGBT community.

Shem said, "I'm so excited about launching ‘In Tune’, and taking the next steps to scale up this important project. Fundamentally, ‘In Tune’ recognises that with the right information and support, delivered to the right people, at the right time, we can empower communities to manage their health and wellbeing through this key life shift."

At the House of Commons event, Janet Lindsay, chief executive of Wellbeing of Women, discussed the charity’s work on menopause and the menopause pledge.

Geeta Kumar spoke about the work of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology on menopause care and the importance of guidelines and patient education resources.

Juddy Otti, project manager at Sophia Forum, talked about the group’s work on developing an education and support programme for women living with HIV. Haitham Hamoda and Melanie Davies from the BMS discussed how the organisation is training health professionals.

Nicky said, “I am delighted to be working with colleagues on this important project to provide reliable information and support to all those who will experience and be impacted by this stage of the hormone odyssey.”