‘Be Kind’ Key Message For Mental Health Awareness Week

Today, Monday 18th May marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, which is themed around acts of kindness. Following a celebrity death earlier in the year, the over arching sentiment in 2020 of ‘Be Kind’, began to trickle down through all walks of life.

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said:

“We want to use Mental Health Awareness Week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. And we want to start a discussion on the kind of society we want to shape as we emerge from this pandemic.”

Mental health problems once a taboo subject, are now actively talked about throughout many settings. With one in six adults reporting a common mental health disorder such as anxiety in August 2019, it’s probably a lot closer to home than many people think.

Since lockdown began on the 23rd March, a lot of chatter between people, especially on social media platforms, has been that ‘it’s ok, not to be ok’, encouraging others to share their highs and lows and not suffer in silence.

Now the lockdown measures are easing, and conveyancers and their peers who they work alongside with, are potentially beginning the transition from staying at home to going to work. It’s important to remember to take care of your mental health, as we all begin to adapt to the new ‘normal’.

With many of us working from home still, we haven’t had the interactions with colleagues that would help us get through the day. Now more than ever, those chats over a cup of coffee need to continue, to help maintain those relationships, even if they are conducted virtually.

Recently, LawCare – the legal mental health charity – released data on all COVID-19 related contacts it has received to date to coincide with this week, in the hope it raises awareness that people aren’t alone.

Forty eight legal professionals have contacted the charity with issues related to COVID-19 since 10th March, making up over a third (37%) of all contacts to their support service.

There seemed to be the a trend in the issues that would arise from each person who contacted the charity. With the top three issues being identified as:

  • Legal professionals not being permitted to work from home
  • Financial issues as a result of furlough payments or pay cuts due to lack of work
  • Existing mental health issues worsening due to the current situations

Other issues that were also frequent included:

  • Relationship strain
  • Childcare issues
  • Being asked to work whilst on furlough

Chief Executive Elizabeth Rimmer said:

“We feel this is very much the tip of the iceberg and anticipate in the coming weeks more and more legal professionals will contact us as the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic begins to really hit home. We would like to remind all legal professionals, including support staff, they can contact us for free, in confidence, to discuss anything that is bothering them. Talking through your problems with one of our trained staff and volunteers, who have all worked in the law themselves, can really help.”

If you are considering going back to work, or are adapting your working practices, then remember to take some time out for yourself. If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that taking time to look after yourself both physically and mentally should be a priority. Any good habits you’ve gotten into during lockdown, such as going for a walk during your lunch break or taking multiple breaks for other reasons should still be followed if and when you return to the office.

 

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