Comment: Work-life balance is key to better mental health

26th June 2019

Stop austerity and put an end to job insecurity.  

These are the words of Doctor, Dainius Pūras, regarding his concerns around mental health.

The United Nations’ top health representative spoke ahead of a new mental health report heading to the UN in Geneva next week.

The best way to invest in the mental health of individuals is to create a supportive environment in all settings.

Then of course [therapeutic] services are needed, but they should not be based on an excessive biomedical model.

However, for many individuals operating in a supportive environment can feel out of reach.

Consequently, Fletchers devised an in-house mental health strategy.

Nearly 18 months on, it is starting to take shape.

Team members across the organisation are involved from non-legal apprentices to senior legal figures.

They are the firm’s Mental Health Champions.

Nurse Analyst Supervisor, Debbie Moore explains:

The role of a Mental Health Champion in the work place is essential.

Above all, the stigma of admitting to anxiety and stress is becoming a thing of the past.

Debbie has recently been awarded for mental health work in the local community.

And as a result of her experience, she believes a supportive working environment makes all the difference.

Statistics show a rise in mental health-related illness in the work place.

However, when you have high-profile figures such as William, Kate and Harry as advocates, things have and will continue to move forward.

Fletcher’s efforts to raise awareness has started to gain momentum.

Earlier this month, five Champions volunteered at Southport’s Revitalise Centre.

As well as that, team members took part in #TourDeFletchers, a competition to see who can cycle the furthest distance inside ten minutes.

Moreover, the firm has seen an uptake in male interest, too.

This Sunday 30th June a number of Fletcherians will participate in a 5-a-side tournament fundraiser in aid of CALM – the male suicide charity.

There is also a sensitive side to the Champions’ work.

Each Champion receives training on handling difficult situations.

These range from discussing conflict to confronting a potential suicide.

Both Senior Solicitor, Patricia Hitchen and Litigation Executive, Liam Bestwick have experienced such training and believe the best starting point for anyone struggling is to speak out.

Patricia said:

Mental health will touch and affect every one of us at some point in our lives.

Whilst some illnesses are treat with therapies and prescriptions, an uncertain future will have a detrimental impact on us all.

No one should have to face a mental health problem on their own.

Liam also believes if you are struggling, then you must speak out.

Suicide rate among men in the UK is the lowest in 30 years.

This is arguably due to greater awareness of mental health and recognition of the importance of medical treatment.

While Dr Pūras’ comments are excellent in terms of encouraging debate and increasing awareness of mental health, there are risks.

In short, attributing poor mental health to government austerity might put off sufferers from seeking well-needed and medically backed treatment.

So, where do we go from here?

In conclusion, Debbie is proud of the journey Fletchers has started.

Mental Health is such a big issue now.

There’s pressures both at work and at home.

Both go hand in hand.

The pressure to be high performing at work and manage financially at home. It is a constant juggling act.

“Getting your work-life balance is key to well-being.

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