About us

Menopause & Mental Health: Understanding, Effects, & Coping Strategies

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what menopause is, how its symptoms can impact mental health, and effective strategies for managing this transformative phase of life.

Menopause & Mental Health: Understanding, Effects, & Coping Strategies
Photo by Hannah Voggenhuber / Unsplash

Menopause is a significant life transition that impacts not only physical health, but overall mental wellbeing. Whether you're experiencing menopause firsthand or supporting someone going through it, understanding menopause as a holistic experience that encompasses physical, emotional, and psychological changes is crucial.  

What is Menopause?

Menopause marks the end of menstruation and fertility in women, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. It is a natural biological process resulting from hormonal changes, particularly a decline in estrogen production. Menopause is characterised by various physical symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats.

Perimenopause / Early Menopause

Menopause can also affect women at any age, not just those in their 40’s or 50’s. This is called Perimenopause: being “around the time of menopause.” Some women notice signs of progression towards menopause (such as irregular menstruations) as early as their mid-thirties. Although this is less common, being aware of the possibility of early menopause is important, especially in terms of fertility.

The Link Between Menopause and Mental Health

The hormonal fluctuations associated with menopause can significantly influence mental health. Estrogen, a key hormone in the female reproductive system, plays a crucial role in regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in mood regulation. As estrogen levels decline during menopause, disruptions in these neurotransmitter systems can occur, leading to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression.

While not all women experience significant mood disturbances, a substantial proportion may encounter emotional challenges that warrant attention and support. Recognising the potential impact of menopause on mental health is the first step toward addressing these concerns effectively.

Common Effects of Menopause on Mental Health:

  • Mood Swings: Fluctuations in hormone levels can contribute to sudden shifts in mood, ranging from euphoria to irritability or sadness.
  • Anxiety: Many women experience heightened levels of anxiety during menopause, characterised by feelings of worry, tension, or apprehension.
  • Depression: Depression is a prevalent concern during menopause, with symptoms such as persistent sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

It's essential to recognise that these symptoms can impact daily functioning and quality of life, underscoring the importance of proactive management strategies.


On top of these hormonal changes, women can battle an array of other complex issues: for many, menopause represents a profound shift in identity and life stage, often prompting reflections on aging, purpose, and self-image.

These social aspects can take a toll on wellbeing as well. To help process these thoughts and feelings, listening to podcasts about it is a great place to start. Petra Bagust’s “Grey Matters” podcast, where she hosts candid episodes with expert speakers, such as Menopause 101, Perimenopause,  Menopause Stories, and Menopause: The honest guide. We’ll be releasing our own podcast with Dr. Linda Dear, the Menodoctor, very soon as well, so keep an eye out on our socials!


One of the most emotionally charged aspects of menopause is the loss of fertility. Experiencing menopause may be an especially sensitive time for a number of people, including:

  • People who feel they were not yet done having children.
  • People who decided not to have children.
  • People who have experienced miscarriages in the past.
  • People who have experienced other related medical issues or traumas, such as endometriosis.
  • People who do not identify as women, but still experience the hormonal changes of menopause.

If you are tackling some complex issues and emotions brought about by menopause, you are not alone. There are so many people in the same boat that you can share your experiences with. If you are perimenopausal and concerned about your fertility, please reach out to a fertility doctor, or if you need to work through how you feel about this experience, there are many counsellors and therapists who specialise in women’s health issues.

Dismissal of Menopause

Unfortunately, lots of medical issues whose symptoms present as mood swings and depression have a history of being “dismissed” by doctors who don’t specialise in women’s issues.  At worst, some women are told that their hormonal issues are “all in their head.” If you experience this, do not be dismayed, and do not hesitate to find a doctor who understands Menopause and its symptoms. If you are experiencing similar circumstances with an employer or workplace not understanding the toll that Menopause can take, do not be afraid to contact your HR representative to ask for company resources and advice to be made available to your managers. Menopause is something that happens to 50% of the population, and struggling with its symptoms are expected and valid.

Tactics to Manage Menopause and Mental Health:

Managing mental health during menopause requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both physical and emotional wellbeing. In addition to seeking professional support, individuals can implement the following tactics to navigate this transition with resilience:

  1. Holistic Self-Care: Prioritise self-care practices that promote overall wellbeing, including regular exercise, nutritious eating, adequate sleep, and stress reduction techniques such as meditation or mindfulness.
  2. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): For some women, hormone replacement therapy may be recommended to alleviate menopausal symptoms and stabilise mood. It's essential to discuss the potential benefits and risks of HRT with a trained healthcare provider before deciding if this is the path for you.
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a structured form of therapy that can help individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and develop coping strategies for managing stress and mood disturbances.
  4. Social Support: Maintain connections with friends, family, or support groups to share experiences, seek advice, and receive emotional support during this transitional period.
  5. Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment, whether it's pursuing hobbies, spending time in nature, or practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
  6. Nutritional Support: Adopting a balanced diet rich in whole foods, fiber, and essential nutrients can support hormonal balance, stabilise blood sugar levels, and optimise neurotransmitter function. Consultation with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can provide personalised dietary recommendations tailored to individual needs and preferences.

By adopting these proactive strategies and seeking support when needed, individuals can navigate this transition with resilience and care for themselves. Remember, you're not alone on this journey, and support is available to help you thrive during this transformative time.

It is also important to note that while Clearhead is a clinically designed mental health platform, we are unable to provide you with any medical advice surrounding menopause. It is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who can offer expert guidance based on individual circumstances and medical history. We encourage you to reach out to your doctor or a medical professional to learn which course is best to take for your menopause experience.

If you’re looking for therapy and would like to talk to a trained mental health professional, Clearhead offers a database of more than 1,000 trained therapists across Australia and New Zealand that are just one click away. Check out of our full directory and begin your journey today.

If you are not in immediate danger but require crisis support:  mentalhealth.org.nz
Suicide Call Back Service
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Call 1300 659 467. — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14
, text on 0477 13 11 14 (12pm to midnight AEST) or chat online.
Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or email.
Kids Helpline
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counseling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 – 25. Call 1800 55 1800.
MensLine Australia
MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online counselling service offering support to Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, 24 hours/7 days a week, chat online or organise a video chat.
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides 24/7 free and confidential counselling to anyone who has served at least one day in the ADF, their partners and families. Call 1800 011 046.
If you are not in immediate danger but require crisis support:  healthdirect.gov.au