In recent years there has been a greater focus on mental health and the role employers can play in ensuring people are supported. Often, the question is, where to start in putting a meaningful strategy together. Below is a guide that will help you create a plan that will work for your firm or organisation.
Undertaking training is one of the main ways we can improve our knowledge about mental health and wellbeing, learning about how to support ourselves and others. According to our 2020 wellbeing research, the provision of mental health training across the legal profession is low, but 62% of people felt that training for managers would have a positive impact on workplace culture. 54% felt the same about staff training.
Only 24% of respondents in our 2020 research felt that their supervisors or line managers would know how to support staff with their wellbeing, or signpost confidently to further support.
The most effective way to challenge the stigma of mental health is by talking about it openly. Promote positive wellbeing around your office, particularly in common areas like staff kitchens and intranet sites.
Partners, associates and key decision makers should make an effort to be more open about their feelings at work to help create an honest and open work place and encourage others to talk about their feelings. Talking about our feelings at work can be a challenge, but the key is to make it a normal part of your daily lives.
How often do your supervisors ask how your trainee, solicitor, paralegal or support staff are feeling? Our workload as professionals can be challenging at times and there is no shame in asking for assistance or admitting that you are struggling.
Supervisors should be encouraged to ask “How are you?” “What can I do to help?” on a regular basis and be trained to spot signs that staff members may need support. Effective line management is key to driving wellbeing in any successful organisation.
Consider whether you wish to issue a policy or vision statement for your firm on mental health and ensure that all existing policies consider the impact of mental health concerns.
Depending on your company structure, you may wish to ensure that mental health is covered in new staff inductions going forward to ensure that all staff have a level of mental health awareness and are informed of the support available.
Consult the experts for more information on how you can improve the wellbeing of your staff. Here are some excellent resources for firms wishing to improve the mental wellbeing of their staff:
We will keep our members updated on the progress of this project over the next few months. If you have used, or are aware of, other good resources, please let us know. Lawscot Wellbeing is about collaboration and we appreciate your contributions.