Independent schools sign up for menstrual knowledge initiative

  • 21st March 2024

Epsom College in Surrey and Prior Park College in Bath have signed up for a ‘Menstrual Cycle Support for Teens’ initiative.

Eight founding partner schools from across the UK have helped shape a course and signed up to offer it to their female pupils.

The course aims to counter any stigma and shame, empower girls, and reverse diagnosis times for endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, heavy menstrual bleeding and other menstrual health conditions.

The initiative, a partnership between digital menstrual health organisation Menstrual Cycle Support and charity Endometriosis UK, is free to all schools and teenage girls on social prescription.

The partnership stated that the course is clinically backed, peer-reviewed and evidence-informed. It is available through GP surgeries across the UK on social prescription, though anyone can ‘self-refer’ and take the course now on the Menstrual Cycle Support website.

Chris Filbey, assistant head, pupil wellbeing at Epsom College, said: “Epsom College is delighted to be a pioneering school working alongside Menstrual Cycle Support. Helping our young people to have a greater understanding of the power and impact of their menstrual cycles is long overdue. Improving levels of menstrual health literacy and awareness has the potential to significantly improve the lives, health and mental wellbeing of teenagers across the UK. We are very proud that several of our students had the opportunity to take part in a focus group and thus directly influence the design of this programme.”

Kate Shepherd Cohen, founder and chief executive of Menstrual Cycle Support, said: “Young people have the right to understand what is normal when it comes to their bodies. Menstrual literacy improves confidence to chart our cycles, adapt our lives according to the different phases and, crucially, talk about our cycles with clinicians.”

Emma Cox, chief executive of Endometriosis UK, added: “Being ‘too young’ to have endometriosis or menstrual health problems is a myth that must be overcome; without a diagnosis treatment can’t be accessed and diseases may progress. The impact of lost education and academic attainment can have a lifelong impact on career and prospects. As well as impacting on physical health, the psychological effect of being told your pain is not real, or not believed, can be significant. The Menstrual Cycle Support for Teens course will empower future generations, providing the understanding and language they need to effectively seek help.”

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