Non-clinical Period Pain & Menstrual Health Management Programme
Menstrual Cycle Support’s Free Online Course is an eHealth menstrual literacy course designed to be a non-clinical Period Pain & Menstrual Health Management Programme.
The Organisation for the Review of Health Care Apps (ORCHA) scored the course an above average 82% in its first compliance review (March 2023), measuring against 350 international health tech standards and regulations, including those on the NHS Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC). The course is listed on ORCHA’s App Library designed for clinicians to find trusted resources to signpost patients.
The course content is guided by the biopyschosocial principles of pain management set out in NHS pain-management programmes (PMPs), including: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR); Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT); and, Compassion-Based Therapy (CBT). The course also follows and links to NHS guidelines for pain management and stress reduction.
Delivering Personalised Care
The content of the Menstrual Cycle Support Course is designed to support the guidelines for menstrual health, as set out by National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the Royal College of Obstetricians/Gynaecologists (RCOG), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
The Course specifically supports the creation of a symptom ‘diary’ as an adjunct clinical decision support tool, providing clinicians with additional information to deliver personalised care on social prescription.
Innovation in Social Prescription
‘Social prescription’, or ‘social prescribing’, enables GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing. It is part of the NHS Long Term Plan for universal personalised care. Personalised Care “gives people the same choice and control over their mental and physical health they have come to expect in every other aspect of their life”.
Menstrual Cycle Support is a member of the Alliance for Innovation for the National Association of Social Prescribing , as well as the College of Medicine and Integrative Health. Our Founder, Kate Shepherd Cohen, won Innovator of the Year 2021 at the International Social Prescribing Awards for ‘pioneering menstrual health’.
The Menstrual Cycle Support Course is available on UK-wide social prescription.
Clinically-backed and Peer-Reviewed
The Menstrual Cycle Course content has had input from clinicians in general practice, psychology, nursing, gynecology, reproductive and sexual health, occupational therapy, social prescribing and osteopathy, as well as from the leading menstrual health charities, NGOs, menstrual educators and researchers and, of course those who experience a menstrual cycle, themselves.
It has been endorsed by the Government’s Women’s Health Ambassador, CEO of Endometriosis UK and the President of the Royal College of Obs/Gyn. We launched the Course in Parliament on 10th October 2022.
The course has been Independently Peer Reviewed, led by Dr Nuša Farič (University of Edinburgh/UCL – Health Informatics/Health Psychology/Population Health).
Dr Nuša Farič is a scientific consultant and researcher specialising in innovative Health / Fem Tech solutions. She holds a PhD in Health Psychology and Informatics at University College London (UCL) and supervises several MSc research projects, one of which included first-of-a-kind analysis on the effects of oral contraceptives on depressive symptomatology in healthy women. One of the six-method studies in her PhD was recommended by the UK Health Security Agency on gov.uk as a demonstration of digital health tool research methodology.
The peer review included leaders in the field of menstrual health, research and education.
Reviewers and those that have input into the course include:
- The UK’s leading menstrual health scholar, Dr Sally King, Founder & Research Director of www.Menstrual-Matters.co.uk and on the board of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.
- Advanced Clinical Practitioner Gynaecology, Joanne Hanley, Specialist Advisor to Endometriosis-UK
- Leading Menstrual Literacy Expert, Chella Quint, Author, Former Head of PHSE and Founder of Period Positive.
- Annie Bosnall, NHS Occupational Therapist and Menstrual Cycle Awareness Specialist
- Sarah Hinds, Counsellor and Menstrual Cycle Awareness Specialist
- Dr Natalie Chong, GP
- Dr Lucy Matthews, GP
- Neelam Heera, CEO of Cysters charity, campaigner for improved menstrual health & education in marginalised communities (please also see our Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Statement).
- Dr Helena Tucker, clinical psychologist
- As well as additional clinicians in primary care, secondary and allied health care and patients themselves.
Inclusivity & Accessibility
We are committed to continuously evolving the Menstrual Cycle Support Course to ensure universal access. We have employed an Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity Consultant to review content, (Neelam Heera, CEO of Cysters charity representing the voices in menstrual health of marginalised communities), and are working with reviewers at the British Dyslexia Association and National Autistic Society to improve access and content inclusivity. We are due to go through an Inclusivity Audit with Purple, who are provide consultancy to ensure an improved user experience for disabled people and their families in December 2022. Please also see our Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity policy and our Accessibility statement.
Menstrual Cycle Awareness
The Menstrual Cycle Support Course teaches, in part, the principles of the daily practice of Menstrual Cycle Awareness, as created and developed by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo-Wurlitzer, co-Founders of Red School, with four decades of experience of working with women’s wellbeing and the menstrual cycle. With their permission, we have adapted the teachings as clinically-backed content for mainstream menstrual healthcare. Read more about the lineage of the Course content.
Furthering Menstrual Health Research
We are evidence-basing the course through measuring its efficacy through an NHS-approved data analysis methodology with our partner www.meaningfulmeasures.com.
We intend to publish our first report in 2023 and work alongside academic researchers and institutions to further menstrual health research (see our data ethics policy).
We are affiliate members of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.
We have received the Period Positive Trained and Tested mark.
Health Tech Regulation Criteria
Menstrual Cycle Support is a Health/Fem tech business. As such we seek to adhere to the principles as set out by the Organisation for Health Care Regulation Apps (ORCHA), which uses the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) created by NHSX.
In March 2023 we scored a well-above-average 82% in our first ORCHA compliance review and the course is listed on ORCHA’s App Library designed for clinicians to find trusted resources to signpost patients.
Ongoing Iterative Co-Design
We are committed to evolving the course using feedback from our users and regular Independent Peer Reviews.