This week (18-24 May) is Mental Health Awareness week, and there is no better time to get people engaged with talking about mental health problems.
Mental health is an integral part of how we feel about our jobs, how well we perform and how well we interact with colleagues and clients. With an estimated 1 in 6 of the population experiencing mental health issues, as a firm, we want to do what we can to ensure we promote and support positive mental health, as well as support those who may experience mental health issues.
How to support staff experiencing mental health problems
Mental Health is still a taboo subject in most workplaces, 67% of employees feel scared, embarrassed or unable to talk about mental health concerns with their employer. Promoting an environment of open discussion is important to address the stigma which still exists around mental illness and to ensure everyone is treated supportively and empathetically by colleagues and managers.
SA Law responds to mental ill-health as we would respond to staff with physical health problems. Providing support is crucial. Everyone’s experience of mental health problems is different and so is the support they need. We will do what we can to support. This could include: flexible hours / changes to the role (temporary or permanent) / increased support from managers in prioritising and managing workload.
Promoting good mental wellbeing during lockdown
Now more than ever it is important to promote self-care, and we have signposted our staff to the following training and tips:
Take a break
Have a proper lunch break. Stop, makes something nice to eat, and eat away from your work area. Try and get outside and get some natural light if you can do so safely, and try some exercise, again within guidelines on social contact - it's easy to get dragged in to work out of hours. With hopefully warmer weather back for the next few weeks, if you can safely, eat your lunch outside, boosting your vitamin D levels at the same time.
Dehydration can elevate stress levels, and according to the NHS 68% of adults are usually dehydrated. Staying hydrated is extremely important for managing stress, and you should aim to drink 6-8 cups of water throughout the day.
Balancing home school and work
Many of us have parent or caring responsibilities which have dramatically changed or altered under current circumstances. The divides between personal and private seem to be coming down and the demands on our time can be difficult to manage. Join Funke Abimbola, CEO, The Austin Bronte Consultancy and Former Head of UK Legal, Roche and Phinnah ChiChi Ikeji, Co-Founder, Parents Inspiring Parents who share their practical tips, advice and secrets for balancing a successful career with parenthood. Join the work and parenting webinar – How to maintain work/life balance in the age of COVID-19 on 4 June at 10.30am. Click here to register.
Well-being and Resilience Webinars
The charity This Can Happen are running free online webinars to help everyone manage their health in these unprecedented times. They cover topics such as:
- Nutrition for Stress, Fear and Uncertainty
- Coping with Loss – including the loss of life's norms, routines, working practices, social and professional support networks, financial securities and economic conditions.
- How to Sleep Well in a Changed World
- Cancelled Exams – Supporting Our Teens With Their Mental Health
For more details on any of the above webinars, please click here: https://www.thiscanhappenevents.com/resources/webinars
Sources of information
We understand getting access to appropriate treatment can be difficult.
Many service providers are diligently changing the way they work and how services are accessed. A great source of information and help for mental health is Mind in Mid-Herts https://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/
Law Care are an independent charity offering emotional support, information and training to the legal community in the UK and Ireland. They work to promote good mental health and wellbeing in legal workplaces and run a free independent confidential Helpline (0800 2796888) available to anyone in the legal community, including families and support staff. The helpline provides a space for you to talk about anything that may be worrying you and is open from 9.00am-7.30pm on weekdays, and 10am-4.00pm at weekends and on Bank Holidays.