Mental Health Week 2017: Horwich Farrelly launches Mental Health First Aider programme
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October, 9, 2017
Horwich Farrelly has demonstrated its commitment to promoting good mental health at work with the appointment of 19 ‘mental health first aiders’ across its six offices.
Announced on the eve of World Mental Health Day – which this year has the theme ‘Workplace Wellbeing’ – Horwich Farrelly is believed to be one of the first law firms in the UK to launch such a programme.
Horwich Farrelly’s nineteen mental health first aiders
Mental health first aiders are individuals accredited to offer initial support to others through non-judgemental listening and guidance. They are also trained to spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health and encourage individuals to access appropriate professional support or self-help. The firm’s mental health first aiders have been recruited from across the business and range from legal apprentice, Georgia Wild, to equity partner, Nicola Critchley.
Alongside the first aider programme, Horwich Farrelly is running a range of daily activities as part of its first ever ‘Mental Health Week’.
These include asking all 750 employees to commit to taking a small step to boost their wellbeing, such as going for a brisk walk at lunchtime to swapping social media for reading a book, busting some of the myths around mental health by offering mindfulness activities and holding a coffee morning with the firm’s partners.
The specialist first aid training was provided by Rethink Mental Illness, a charity providing support to around 60,000 people across England affected by mental illness. The organisation provides expert, accredited advice and information on everything from treatment and care, to benefits and employment rights.
As well as promoting awareness of the support available to the estimated one in four people experiencing mental health issues, the firm is looking to raise £15,000 for Rethink Mental Illness after it was selected by employees as its charity of the year. To date more than £11,000 has been raised with future initiatives including a five-a-side charity football tournament and a Santa Dash still to take place.
Liz Partington (HR Director), Thomas Reynard (Chief Operating Office), David Robinson (Rethink Mental Illness) & Kirstie Butler (HR Business Partner)
Thomas Reynard, Chief Operating Officer, who also took part in the training said, “We all acknowledge that in the event someone suffers a minor injury in a workplace environment that a trained first aider will be on hand to offer help. However, if for example you’re feeling depressed or anxious, whether work-related or not, it might not be immediately obvious who you can to turn to for support.
“We believe that employers have a responsibility to promote wellbeing in the workplace and to encourage openness around mental health issues. The appointment of our nineteen mental health first aiders is evidence of our commitment to cultivating a positive working environment that nurtures our people, and supports them throughout their career with all aspects of their wellbeing.”
James Fletcher from Rethink Mental Illness, added: “It is encouraging to see companies like Horwich Farrelly investing in initiatives that aim to promote good mental health in the workplace. We spend so much time at work that it’s important for employers to recognise their role in supporting staff and offering them different ways to ask for help, when they need it.”
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