Manchester city centre

Using Digital Skills to Inspire Inclusive Conversations on Menopause

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Meet Sonya Christensen, a psychotherapist who has spent 15 years supporting women's mental health. Lately, she's been using new digital skills to have inspiring conversations about menopause.

Last year, Sonya completed a Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Skills Bootcamp with We Are Group to improve her digital marketing techniques, so she could help more women to feel understood and supported.

She launched a website and social media forum in November 2023 to empower women to share experiences, get advice and build a safe online community.

Her new expertise combined with her therapy background is helping Sonya to break down barriers and create inclusive spaces for women when they need it most.

She said: "I craft compelling stories illuminating menopause’s realities and the impact that it can have on our mental health. I direct projects bringing these stories to life - making them relatable, informative and empowering. Having a background in mental health and experience of the menopause helps me to help others on their own personal journeys.

“I believe in storytelling’s power to break down barriers and destigmatise menopause. Our aim is to create a judgment-free space for open, honest menopause conversations. Through our work, we aspire to be a beacon of hope and source of reliable information for women worldwide."

Since creating the website, Sonya and her team of Menopause Champions, Julie Collins and Sharon Houghton, have grown their following and received numerous messages from individuals who have found solace in their support, feeling more confident, informed, and reassured.

Sonya shared the benefits she’s experienced since completing the digital Skills Bootcamp: “I am utilising the skills I learned from the course and created a website on menopause and mental health, set up a Facebook Group and Instagram - something I couldn't have done before. I leveraged marketing strategies to promote the website and engage with the broader community through social media channels. The Bootcamp instilled the confidence I needed to translate my ambitions into action.”

Sonya's story highlights the immense value of upskilling programmes like Skills Bootcamps. These government-funded Bootcamps aim to equip residents with high-demand skills employers have identified they need.

The training helps recruit, retain and develop talent in the city-region and focuses on priority groups, which include women.

According to the latest labour market statistics, 32% of Greater Manchester’s digital workforce is female. So far, 40% of learners accessing GMCA’s digital Skills Bootcamps in identify as female with more courses to launch, demonstrating the city-region’s commitment to investing in women and supporting them to access high-quality training and progression opportunities.

If you feel inspired by Sonya's story and want to develop a skills to make an impact like she has, please visit our website to learn more about the skills programmes we're offering at Greater Manchester: Work and Skills (external link)