Are you mentally thriving?Pepperells
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, run by the Mental Health Foundation to raise awareness of both positive and negative mental health.
This year, the Foundation aims to ask why so few of us are “thriving” with good mental health and what can be done to improve that – just 13 per cent of individuals surveyed by the Foundation reported living with high levels of good mental health.
As lawyers, we often see people in crisis. Our clients are stressed, anxious, vulnerable and fearful. For many of them their initial appointment will be the first time they have come to see a solicitor, and it might be about the worst or hardest thing they have ever experienced.
It is anecdotally said that buying a house and going through divorce are the two most stressful events of one’s life. It can be worse, some of our clients find themselves in a position of unique vulnerability; seeking protection from domestic violence, facing the removal of children from their care, diagnosed with a terminal illness or charged with crimes that threaten a prison sentence.
The law can be a frightening place for those who aren’t familiar, and it is little wonder that so many of our clients tell us their mental health is suffering as a result.
So, what can solicitors do to help? We can’t promise to make everything better. We aren’t doctors or counsellors and, unfortunately, we don’t have a magic wand. But we are experts in our field and problem solvers by nature. We are good listeners and we always ask how we can improve the situation and what solutions we can find to your issues.
We understand this is scary for you; we know you may not know what to do, but the good news is we have probably seen something similar before. We can, if nothing else, give you an idea of what to expect. If you consult a solicitor early enough the chances are we can identify possible pitfalls and make sure they are avoided. Sometimes, that reassurance alone might be enough to keep stress levels down and mental health up.
The Mental Health Foundation tells us that “good mental health is an asset that helps us to thrive. This is not just the absence of a mental health problem, but having the ability to think, feel and act in a way that allows us to enjoy life and deal with the challenges it presents.”
No one can be expected to deal with challenges alone. We all need support networks in place; our friends and family and, at times, the right professional help. If you are worried about a legal problem and you don’t know what to do, it is never too early or too late to speak to an expert.
If you would like to know more about Mental Health Awareness Week you can visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week to find out what they are doing, how to get involved and read their recent report.