Lawyers Also Call For Gaps In Mental Health Services To Be Highlighted So Improvements Can Be Made
To mark World Mental Health Day, specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are speaking out to help raise awareness of the importance to talk about mental health.
World Mental Health Day is marked by the World Health Organisation on the 10th October every year.
The lawyers, from the Leeds office of the national law firm, have experience of acting for those who have lost loved ones who suffered from poor mental health.
Irwin Mitchell has also recently rolled out specialist mental health training for staff to help employees who may be struggling with issues themselves, as part of their mission to reduce the negative stigmas attached to mental health, which prevents people from accessing the support they need.
Rachelle Mahapatra, who heads up the Irwin Mitchell Medical Negligence team in Leeds, said:
Expert Opinion“We see first-hand just how important awareness of mental health is, both awareness from the individual and those who care for them.
“Unfortunately, we have acted for those who have lost a loved one due to them being let down when they went to seek help.
“The stress and pressure on the NHS is well-known, and those who work in it do a fantastic job helping those in need. Like all industries though, there are areas where room for improvement exists. Mental health is one of these areas.” Rachelle Mahapatra - Partner
The law firm recently acted in two high-profile cases where there have been people let down after seeking help from medical professionals.
In July the parents of Martin Burnett, a father-of-two from Bradford, spoke out from mental health improvements, alongside their legal team at Irwin Mitchell. Martin took his own life in November 2015, after struggling to come to terms with the unexpected loss of his wife four years earlier.
Martin had sought advice and support from his local NHS Trust, however missed opportunities led to him not receiving the help he ultimately needed. Martin’s parents called on the Trust, which made an admission of liability, to ensure lessons were learnt from their son’s death.
In August the firm acted for Richard Bellerby, whose son, Andrew, took his own life just 48 hours after NHS staff had determined that Andrew wasn’t a suicide risk. The high-profile case received national attention.
Samuel Hill, who acted for Richard Bellerby, added:
Expert Opinion“In both cases, a vulnerable person was known to their local NHS Trust. Their problems were well documented, yet when it was needed the support was not there.
“It is so important that gaps in mental health services are highlighted to ensure appropriate lessons can be learned.
“This is the only way that mistakes can become a thing of the past, and families can be spared of the hurt that was sadly felt by the families of Martin and Andrew.” Samuel Hill - Senior Associate Solicitor
The firm itself has introduced mental health first aid training earlier this year. Mental Health First Aid England provided a day long course to 80 volunteers within the law firm. Those who attended the course are now able to offer front line support to their colleagues while further specialist line manager training is also taking place.
Sion Kingston, the lead Personal Injury partner in Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said:
Expert Opinion“As a firm the emotional wellbeing of our people is a top priority.
“We are committed to inclusion and making sure we break down the barriers which prevent people from talking about their mental health and seeking the help they need.
“Mental health problems affect around one in four people. It is common. There shouldn’t be a stigma surrounding it and we are proud to speak out on World Mental Health Day to show support for better mental health understanding.” Sion Kingston - Partner
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in mental health cases.