It’s a sad truth that modern life can sometimes be overwhelming. However, one of the most positive developments in recent times has been the growing acceptance across society that it’s OK to not be OK.
Held in October, World Mental Health Day demonstrated perfectly how people are talking more honestly and openly than ever before. This can only lead to a better understanding of the difficulties that we all face every now and again.
We take a look how the issue of mental health affects our work and what we’re doing to support our staff.
Support at a tough time
Separation and divorce can be incredibly difficult for everyone involved. To mark World Mental Health Day, we polled our specialist Family Law team to get a sense of the work they do to help and support clients during the process.
The research found that 87% had seen clients suffer from anxiety, depression and mental health issues during divorce. Of these 92% stated that such issues became apparent during the first six months of a separation or proceedings related to children. Despite how the mental health conversation has developed in recent years, many also suspected that their clients were reluctant to ask for help.
Reacting to the figures, Ros Bever, the national head of our Family Law team, said the job of our solicitors was to ensure clients get the best outcome for their situation, which means providing all kinds of support when it’s required.
Ros explained: “Our clients often open up to us as we’re their main pillar of support at what can be a very vulnerable and distressing time. We signpost our clients to the relevant services where possible including GPs, therapists and and counsellors. We’re providing more mental health training for all our staff to help them better support clients as well as themselves.”
One of the respondents of the survey outlined how clients could think seeking mental health support during a separation may negatively influence the outcome, when in fact, it’s regarded as a sign of strength to get support.
Ros added: “Understandably, people may want to look strong in front of their former partners and children, but putting a brave face on things isn’t always the answer.
“It’s important for those going through a divorce or embroiled in a battle over their children to make sure they look after themselves and their family’s mental health.”
Striking a balance
While we’re committed to helping our clients in any way we can when it comes to their mental health, we’re also focused on ensuring all of our staff remain happy and healthy too.
Work is a big part of many people’s lives, but the 24/7, digital world we live in can mean it’s very difficult to switch off from daily pressures. A survey by the Mental Health Foundation highlighted that working longer hours means you spend more time thinking about work when you’re away from it.
We’ve tried to encourage our staff to take the approach of working smarter and not harder, whether that’s through boosting their organisational skills or maintaining a regular dialogue with managers on workload and commitments. A key part of our efforts has been the introduction of flexible working arrangements to help our people organise their hours in a way that suits their lifestyle.
Our corporate social responsibility manager, Kate Rawlings, is just one individual who has taken up this opportunity to give her more time at home to spend with her family.
Kate said: “Flexible working has had a major impact on my life and general wellbeing, as it’s meant I can still effectively do the job I love while maintaining a proper work-life balance.”
Of course, while many businesses may be keen to embrace initiatives like flexible working to boost their staff’s mental health, introducing such schemes isn’t always straightforward. Fortunately, that’s where employment law experts like those behind our IMhr
plus service come in.
plus service helps you stay up-to-date with employment law and gives you advice on managing employment and HR issues in your business.
This service has offered many businesses a helping hand on a range of mental health matters in recent months, with its structure meaning that organisations are able to get support whenever they ultimately need it. Our tailored support service is available for businesses of all sizes, and it operates on a fixed-fee basis which means there’s never any contract commitment.
A popular way to access the service is by purchasing a bank of hours, which means companies can always get legal advice that meets their needs.
find out more about our service at imhrplus.com.
Turning Point – Winter 2019
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Download the Turning Point Winter 2019 magazine
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