Frequently Asked Questions
Menstrual Health eLearning
Frequently asked questions and good things to know:
1. Why is menstrual health eLearning preferred now?
A: Because it is cost effective, efficient, environmentally friendly, accessible, agile, place-based and person-centric, with no borders or barriers to access. It protects privacy and respects and values everyone, their learning needs and their differences.
Research has shown that lecture-style presentations and other one-off programmes that focus on delivering information are not effective. Such presentations and programmes tend not to take into account individual students’ learning needs or the particular school contexts in which they are delivered (Tasker, 2013).
What about me®? reflects a young person’s experiences that they can take into their real world situations.
What about me®? eLearning has been developed by subject matter experts and young people to meet the needs of learners. It is tailored to reflect their experiences and is supported by interactive real-world medical and educational knowledge and young people’s experiences.
2. How does eLearning improve well-being & health-seeking behaviours?
A: through equitable, medically responsible, inclusive, positive and interactive learning. Our What about me®? eLearning resource is strength-based, flexible, adaptable and relevant. The information is available 24/7.
What about me®? provides safe, positive and effective learning for all those who menstruate and those who suffer period pain, pelvic pain and endometriosis. It introduces concepts that allow good health decisions, helpful self-management strategies, guidance on where to find further good quality information and when to seek professional health advice.
3. What does What about me®? eLearning do?
A: It embraces advances in technology and can be adapted to suit different settings, time and appropriateness. It can be shared with whānau or groups (eg school, sports, youth, activity, church, cultural). It respects privacy and is person and whānau-centred. Menstrual health eLearning allows for continual learning and understanding regardless of circumstance or situations like a pandemic which left people isolated.
eLearning learners get the information and understanding they need at the time they need it, in a centralised place that allows them and their whānau, friends and carers to build trust and support to seek help if needed. The results will deliver meaningful change and have measurable benefits to individuals and society.
4. Why is the menstrual cycle, and menstrual health so important?
A: Because half the population can menstruate (from puberty to menopause) yet there are limited resources and societal understanding is poor.
What about me®? addresses complexities and misunderstandings about the menstrual cycle and conditions like endometriosis which has a diagnostic delay in New Zealand of 8.7 years from first presentation of symptoms to a health professional. Endometriosis usually starts in the teen years and can have a devastating impact on life and wellbeing and affect future fertility. Early intervention is recommended in all clinical guidelines. An excellent way of addressing this is through specific, professionally developed education.
Our NZ data tells us that 27% of young people who menstruate miss school every or most months with severe period pain. Menstrual disorders in teenagers can have a significant physical, psychological and emotional impact on their health and wellbeing and seriously compromise schooling, career, quality of life, relationships and future fertility.
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 girls and women. Early intervention is essential and recommended in all national and international guidelines.
5. What’s included in What about me®?
A: The new resource may be incorporated into health programmes to be taught with whole classes, small groups, or individual students. It may also be used independently as an information source.
What about me®? is organised into four main sections:
- Me, my body, and my periods
- Living well with endometriosis and other conditions
- A circle of support
- Te Whare Tapa Whā menstrual health planner
There is also a glossary section of key terms used throughout the resource in English and, where applicable, in te reo Māori.
The resource contains:
- Branding and graphics designed especially for the resource What about me®?
- Seven interactives designed to keep students engaged and informed.
- A series of video interviews with students, some experiencing normal menstrual symptoms, and others experiencing endometriosis or suspected endometriosis. These have all been made accessible with transcripts and closed captions available.
- A graphic animation of the menstrual cycle.
- Photos and supporting images mostly in New Zealand.
6. How will this benefit me / us?
A: We are all life-long learners and we all benefit. We can support those who menstruate by improving our understanding, supporting well-health goals and changing the narrative, taboos and myths associated with the menstrual cycle, and conditions like endometriosis.
We can reduce the delay to diagnosis of endometriosis and the impact and burdens it has on individuals, their schooling, careers, relationships, workplace costs and the public health spend.
TheWhat about me®? resource helps to reverse the disturbing and unacceptable facts that stop those with endometriosis and other conditions affecting the menstrual cycle, from reaching their potential.
7. How does What about me®? integrate into schools or groups?
A: the resource integrates into the health curriculum in the following strands, targeting achievement objectives across a range of levels:
- Personal health and physical development
- Healthy communities and environment
Achievement objectives in physical education provide opportunities for ākonga (students) to discuss and question stereotypes and gender norms. TheWhat about me®? resource has a strong focus on values, critical thinking, sharing, and the student voice.
Here is a link to the Ministry of Education RESOURCE FOR TEACHERS (RSE) Guidelines Years 1 – 13 ‘Effective pedagogy in relationships and sexuality education’.
8. How does What about me®? integrate into clinical pathways and health guidelines?
A: What about me®?fits seamlessly with the Clinical Pathway for the treatment and management of endometriosis in New Zealand, 2020; the RANZCOG Guidelines and other internationally respected Guidelines. It is designed to create knowledge and a new life path for all young people especially those with pelvic pain. This starts with community awareness and accurate information provision to young people and whānau.
9. How can What about me®? be used? How long does it take?
A: opportunities are endless. Weave the resource into your health and wellbeing curriculum in a way that is suited to the needs of individuals, a class or group or those in your care. It may be more appropriate for young people to review it (or sections of it) themselves at home or in small groups. Create opportunities to share and talk about various aspects raised in the resource. For instance, young people might be more inclined to view the videos in their own time and then feel open to discussing menstrual experiences, personal pain circumstances or any other topics that arise. There are transcripts of video conversations for the deaf community and blogs will be posted on this website.
Learning advisors, friends and whānau can encourage young people experiencing symptoms which impact their life, to connect to carers and health professionals, put inspirational benchmarks in place, and suggest a good health plan to give them agency over their own health, lives and goals.
Contact us for helpful ways you can use the resource.
It takes about an hour to follow through each of the modules in What about me®? The resource is suitable for years 10-13 (14-18 year olds) but it caters for everyone interested in the menstrual cycle and menstrual health. There are no boundaries and there is no cost to Aotearoa New Zealand users.
10. Will there be ongoing help, advice or support on next steps?
A: Yes! There will be opportunities for anyone who has a question. Monthly online meetings will be held to support teachers, doctors, whānau, and people who identify their pain as not normal. To register: contact us
11. Does the resource respect Te Tiriti o Waitangi?
A: What about me®? has been developed with a commitment to culturally responsive practice using te reo Māori terms and influences where possible. It aims to be whānau-centred which is the Māori term that describes a holistic culturally grounded approach, focusing on the wellbeing of individuals and whānau as a group. This approach is strength-based and encourages people to understand the menstrual cycle and care for their menstrual health as well as recognising symptoms that negatively impact a person’s life and when to seek help.
12. Is this resource ok to use if we are not in New Zealand?
13. How can we develop a resource suitable for our country?
A: We have unsurpassed experience in initiating and developing Menstrual Health Education for young people and communities and proudly developed the first such education programme in the world (see the story of me® on the home page). We are well positioned to now provide strategic assistance anywhere in the world, to help you develop an in-schools education programme or an online programme such as What about me®?. Contact us to find out more.
Let’s all learn, enjoy, support and care for our people who menstruate and those who have severe period pain.
The menstrual cycle is part of life. Let’s learn to celebrate waiwhero, menstruation.