Good mental health or wellbeing is just as important as good physical health. Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same, it can change as circumstances change and at different stages in your life. Everyone is different, some can bounce back from a setback quickly, others might feel weighed down and unable to cope. A recent poll carried out by YouGov for the Mental Health Foundation, found that more than six out of 10 people currently feel anxious or worried because of Coronavirus. It is a very difficult time for everyone, but there is help and support available.
Mental Health Awareness week 2020 had the theme of kindness, it’s power and potential. The annual event was seen as especially poignant, when protecting our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others is so important in helping us to deal with the psychological and social impacts of the crisis. The theme of kindness also resonates with how people have responded, we have seen kindness within organisations and in communities which have been far reaching.
Protect your wellbeing
How can we protect our own wellbeing and that of others? Thankfully, we’ve come a long way in reducing the stigma around opening up and talking about emotional difficulties. This is a valuable first step and many organisations now have trained Mental Health First Aiders or members of HR who can offer help and support. CILEx Regulation are fully committed to providing a supportive and safe working environment and our own Mental Health First Aiders can provide staff with support and reassurance, including signposting other types of support available.
The Mental Health Foundation has a resource hub How to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes important information on areas such as:
• Advice for working from home
• How to deal with change, loss and bereavement
• Parenting during the Coronavirus outbreak
• Loneliness and dealing with relationships
• Finance, housing and unemployment worries
• How to support mental health at work
CILEx Regulation – help for applicants
We realise that this is a stressful time and we have adapted our processes where possible to try and address any concerns. We remain committed to ensuring standards are maintained and consumers are protected.
While we are operating as close as possible to business as usual, our staff are continuing to adjust and to adapt our processes so that we can continue to offer the best possible solutions. This includes providing continued support and guidance, to help individuals and firms navigate these uncertain times.
We can offer advice for firms and for individuals including: applications and fees, continuing professional development and further training. During this time, members are finding the time to reflect on what they want for their futures and we are receiving applications and requests for help. By working together and being adaptable, we can discover ways to move forward and find the best possible solutions.
Many people working in the legal sector can feel overwhelmed, suffer from stress and anxiety. LawCare is an independent charity that offers emotional support to legal professionals in the UK and Ireland. As well as offering a free and confidential helpline, the charity offers one-to-one peer support. Access the LawCare website for a wealth of free information, resources and factsheets.
The LawCare team are trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. Their peer supporters programme offers one-to-one support. Talking to people who have gone through a similar experience to you can greatly improve wellbeing, increase self-esteem and confidence. All volunteers have first-hand experience of working in the law and many have been through difficult times themselves. They offer support, encouragement and mentoring on a range of different issues such as alcohol addiction, stress and anxiety.
Support for consumers
We are living in very challenging times at the moment and some aspects of your lives may be on hold. You may have legal needs or problems that are causing you anxiety and need urgent attention. Lawyers are still open for business and often some well-placed advice can help to ease worries and help with mental wellbeing.
It is something that many people put off but making a will can help reduce uncertainty and anxiety by taking back some control in what can be a very sensitive topic. It is possible to make a will without having to meet a solicitor in person. Meetings with legal advisers can take place online via video link, or over the phone for assistance with other problems. If you have a legal problem, the Legal Choices website offers practical help and advice and is a good starting point to find help.
People are now dealing with a nationwide health crisis, social isolation and juggling home and work life. The effect on our wellbeing needs to be recognised and with the right help and support, we can find ways to support our wellbeing through the crisis and beyond.
• LawCare – promote and support good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community – helpline 0800 279 6888
• LinkedIn free training videos – help with remote working and more
• Samaritans can be called on 116 123 anytime and about anything that’s troubling you
• NHS mental health services – services are free but you may need a GP referral
• NHS advice for Mental wellbeing while staying at home
• Mind – advice and support infoline: 0300 123 3393
• Mind Guide for Employees: Wellness Action Plans
• Wellbeing Action Plan, published by the Charlie Waller Trust
First published in May 2020, updated in January 2021.