Mental Health Awareness Week – is your law firm ready?

My ultimate top tip for firms at this time is…

Be flexible and be kind – this is a difficult time for everyone be kind to yourself, on you team and use this as an opportunity to innovate.  This ties in quite nicely as next week is #MHAW2020 and the theme this year is #kindness.

Here are my suggestions for any size firms at this time…

Promote good wellbeing

  • Working patterns are changing – in a good way but without people having the chance to adjust – so it is important to stay connected with your teams and have regular communication. At Thrive we use video call, What’sApp messaging with voice notes and encourage the team to chat to one another throughout the day too.
  • Staff will be feeling anxious at this time so it is important to remind them of what support they can access, such as employee assistance programmes and Mental Health First Aiders. It could be as simple as an email to all staff recognising it is an anxious time and  you would like to support, asking that they speak to a manager or colleague if they are worried.
  • Share other sources of support and advice such as from Mind and Public Health England.
  • Provide online mental health training.
  • Encourage staff to access free online tools that assist with self-care and mental health.
  • Conduct risk assessments – mental and physical as its much harder to check your team are okay when you don’t see them at all.
  • Seek the right support and help. @Solicitors Regulation Authority have published a webinar on Covid-19 and other compliance issues.

Make sure your clients continue to get a good service

  • Good communication is key! Keep your clients informed and be clear about what can be done and what may be more challenging.
  • It is important to manage expectations and to be realistic. Don’t over promise as working in a new environment can have its challenges and takes some time to adjust.
  • Use this as an opportunity to be creative! You can offer online meetings and  conference calls.
  • Remember to make adjustments for vulnerable and disabled clients. Also those clients who don’t use tech, be mindful some people don’t like to video call and don’t know how to, ask them how they would like to communicate.

How can firms support staff that have a disability and/or mental health problem…

  • This can be a challenging time for people with pre-existing or part mental health problems, check in with staff and offer support and adjustments. Take time to chat on video or calls none work related with all of your team.
  • Staff may choose this time to disclose a disability/mental health problem, be sensitive and respectful.
  • Remember that change can be difficult for some, speak to staff and offer reassurance.
  • It is important to maintain reasonable adjustments at this time, for example, adjusting and maintaining working patterns or offering and putting in place accessible IT systems so staff can continue working!

This is Me and the Green Ribbon Campaign

  • Every year, one in four people experience a mental health problem.
  • This is Me is a pioneering campaign to reduce stigma and dispel myths around mental health in the workplace.
  • Our goal is to improve awareness and understanding of wellbeing in order to create safer and more supportive working environments.
  • The Green Ribbon campaign is a visible sign of support to #endthestigma around mental health.
  • Over 600 organisations registered UK wide
  • Potentially reaching over 1,000,000 employees
  • Over 160 organisations sharing employee stories
  • Cities lit up green in Mental Health Awareness Week
  • As we continue to experience lockdown we can still raise awareness through a visible commitment to help #endthestigma around mental health, showing those experiencing mental health issues that they are not alone. We can do this virtually by:
    • Creating a visible movement of support by turning LinkedIn Green and tag your city eg.  #endthestigmaLeeds
    • Be kind to others through Give a Green Ribbon
    • Be kind to yourself through Green Ribbon activities – can make your own Green Ribbon through the origami make your own or colouring make your own
    • Be kind through listening using Wellbeing in the Workplace
    • Show example of kindness through This is Me Storytelling
  • There are a variety of resources, including options to virtually wear a Green Ribbon which you can download here.

 

Written by Jodie Hill

 

Anything within this article should not be taken as legal advice. Any information provided will be general advice and for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. If you wish to obtain specific advice to your situation and your decisions, please contact us and we will thereafter be able to advise.

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