As we continue to navigate through unusual working lives, with many of us still working from home away from the security and support of our colleagues, it seems now more than ever it’s important to continue to inspire, promote action and remove the stigma of mental health for all. The Mental Health Foundation chose Kindness as the theme of the campaign for 2020 because of ‘its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity’.
There is a growing concern that is widely acknowledged within the legal industry about lawyer wellbeing and mental health as a result of poor work life balance with many lawyers working long hours to adhere to court and client deadlines. However, it’s important to balance that with the reward and pleasure of completing a particularly difficult piece of litigation and, as is often the case for our Private Client team, the joy they know they are bringing to their clients who rely on them as their only form of regular communication.
Our Mental Health Awareness pledge
At Steeles Law we are proud to challenge this perception within the profession and believe that by promoting positive relationships and the ‘wellbeing’ of our colleagues enables us to be a good employer and provide a first-class service to our clients.
As we continue to work remotely, during the Coronavirus crisis for the safety of our staff and clients, we have adapted our communications with colleagues to ensure that we keep in touch, encourage a healthy work life balance and support mental health in the workplace. ‘As teams suddenly spread out, over a range of geographical regions it can be a stressful time for staff so it’s important to keep regular lines of communication. We have been finding new ways to keep employees’ spirits up with regular Zoom Coffee and catch up sessions, and weekly newsletters where we have actively encouraged staff to share top tips for working from home which have included book and podcast recommendations, photographs from gardens / new work spaces / pets and children. We are really getting to know our colleagues, their families and the pressures they may be facing’ Said Nicki Ramsbottom, Marketing Director ‘we have also welcomed our colleague thoughts on returning to the offices after the lockdown through an online survey to ensure that we continue to work in a manner that works for everyone.’
There are many different conditions that are recognised as mental health illness. During the campaign we have encouraged our colleagues to share their thoughts on mental health in the workplace, as we work together to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Follow our updates from our company twitter account (@steeleslaw) and join in the conversation using #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #Kindnessmatters.
Private client solicitor Donna Taylor shares her thoughts ‘Menopause, Mental Health and me’
In the week that Mental Health Awareness Week, #kindnessmatters, I thought it would be a good time to bring this little spoken about subject ‘mental health and the menopause’. Mental Health is something that people associate with depression or another form of illness, not a life event that happens to all women and affects those people close to them too.
Menopausal women are now apparently the fastest growing work force demographic, many women choosing to return to work after their children have grown up or having children later in life but continuing to work either full or part time.
How as a women I handle my symptoms is of course for me to deal with but it is also so very reassuring to work within a firm that whilst may not understand my personal experience of this time in my life they are willing to listen, to be open to the way that I feel.
For most staff what they want from their employer is respect and understanding, a manager who listens but doesn’t judge and a culture of openness. It’s great to work for a firm where the staff is the asset of the business and the managers provide support and help where they can.
This in turn secures loyalty and retention of key members. It will also provide motivation to be the best you can for a firm that appreciates that you are in fact human and this in turn will increase productivity. I, for one, feel that I have an employer that provides this environment.
Support groups offering advice and include:
- LawCare: Promotes and supports good mental and wellbeing in the legal community.
- Mental Health Foundation: Good mental health for all.
- Mental Health Helplines
If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article or you would like to share your #kindnessmatters stories, please do connect with us on our social media platforms.