Two staff members at Bromleys Solicitors have qualified as mental health first-aiders as the firm enhances the wellbeing services it offers to its team.
Associate solicitor Laura Stansfield and legal cashier Hailie Applegate undertook a two-day Mental Health First Aid course with training provider St John Ambulance.
Mental Health First Aid, which was launched in England by the Department of Health in 2007, is a training scheme which teaches people practical skills to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue in a non-judgmental and confidential way, and to offer advice and guidance on where they can seek the right support.
Louise Nolan, practice manager at Bromleys, said: “These qualifications demonstrate our commitment to enhancing the services we provide to staff which focus on their well-being, and we are looking at ways to improve this further.”
Laura, the head of Bromleys’ wills, probate and planning for the future department, said: “Mental health is less the taboo subject that it used to be, but there is still very much a general lack of understanding and support.
“Our role is to help anyone who might have a problem and to be a first port-of-call.
“Through our training, we have been given resources that we can refer on, and guidance on how to help people seek the professional help they may need.
“We are not here to judge or diagnose, only to assist people.”
Hailie, who works in the accounts department, said: “I hate the thought of anybody feeling completely lost and like they have nobody to turn to, so when the opportunity arose I really wanted to be involved.
“Life can be overwhelming at the best of times. There are occasions when people feel unable to cope or they don’t know where to turn in a mental health crisis.
“We hope to be that ‘safe place’ for everyone at Bromleys, by giving advice regarding coping strategies for stress, signposting towards professionals or simply being a non-judgmental ear.”
Nationally, mental health issues cost employers an estimated £35bn a year in sickness absence, reduced productivity and substituting staff members who are off work, according to MHFA England
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that, in 2016, 15.8 million work days in the UK were lost due to mental illness, while NHS England says approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health illness each year.
Hailie, left, and Laura are pictured with their certificates.