Leading Kent law firm Furley Page has trained three members of its staff as Mental Health First Aiders, to support staff members struggling with issues affecting their psychological wellbeing, as part of the firm’s ongoing drive to promote health and wellness at work. 

Recent research published by the Law Society in April showed that over 93% of respondents felt stressed in their role, with almost a quarter of the lawyers surveyed reporting severe or extreme stress. 

Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s annual Health and Wellbeing Report published in April found that nearly three-fifths of organisations have seen an increase in the number of reported mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Stress related absence has increased over the last year in nearly two-fifths of organisations. 

Amanda Okill, an employment law solicitor at Furley Page, explained: “Research shows that employees in many professions, including the legal sector, are reporting increased levels of stress and anxiety which are negatively affecting their mental health, and their performance at work.  

“Law firms have a duty of care to their employees and Furley Page has taken this decision to support its wider strategy to promote health and wellbeing for all staff. The firm’s trained Mental Health First Aiders are on hand to listen to, support and advise staff when they feel that work or personal pressures are affecting their mental health. We are also encouraging staff to look out for each other, and it is hoped that the strategy will raise awareness and destigmatise the taboo of mental health.  

“Our decision is supported by a strong business case showing that improved mental health leads to a number of positive outcomes, including improved workplace relationships, as well as higher motivation and job satisfaction levels, all of which can lead to enhanced performance and productivity.” 

The Furley Page Employment Team provides in-house training for its clients, including the promotion of positive mental health in the workplace. These courses, aimed at leaders and managers, cover stress recognition and risk assessments including the Health and Safety Executive’s Management Standards. 

Amanda continued: “We would encourage any employer, in the legal profession or otherwise, to look at positive ways to invest in and promote positive mental health in their workplace. From our own experience, clients and organisations that take this approach tend to have fewer serious employee relations issues and a lower staff turnover.” 

For more information on Furley Page’s in-house training courses, please contact Amanda Okill on 01227 763939 or email ajo@furleypage.co.uk  

You can also follow the firm on Twitter @furleypage and on LinkedIn. 

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