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There’s been a real shift in attitudes towards mental wellbeing in recent years, especially at work, where we spend so many of our waking hours. But stigma still exists, because employees feel they will let people down or be a seen as a poor performer if they ask for help. This is especially true for the legal community, which often attracts high achievers who may find it difficult to ask for support when they are under pressure and competition can be fierce.
Emotional literacy, is a key life skill, as important as learning to read and write. Real change starts with self-awareness, all of us learning about and knowing how to recognise and manage our emotions, and how to be there for others. We are social animals and we derive most benefit to our mental health and wellbeing when we are connected to others. That’s why Samaritans have launched Wellbeing in the City, in partnership with PwC and the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.
People can be inhibited about asking for and offering help. Wellbeing in the City brings Samaritans’ expertise into the workplace, offers training which makes it easier to intervene when someone is struggling, and actively listen and manage difficult conversations. It also helps people manage their own mental wellbeing, and promotes openness
The training, which is smart phone enabled, takes less than 90 minutes and can be accessed in sections of around 10 minutes, so it fits around busy lives. These learning tools will help employees to:
• Recognise signs of emotional distress
• Feel more confident approaching and talking to someone in distress
• Recognise the importance of looking after their wellbeing
• Improve their listening skills.
Wellbeing in the City also promotes the value of volunteering. Samaritans volunteers regularly tell us that they get out much more than they put in as a volunteer. They receive a comprehensive training and support and mentoring in their branches.
Samaritans has more than 20,000 volunteers who run 201 branches in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Active, empathetic listening, which Samaritans volunteers learn, is a valuable skill, effective in many spheres from business and education to medicine and care. It builds relationships, encourages trust and creates a safe environment to share thoughts and feelings.
Feeling listened to can elicit a sense of relief, being cared for, and can help the healing process (physical and emotional).
Not only will Wellbeing in the City help create happier and healthier staff, but it will improve productivity. In 2016 and 2017, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety[i]. And the cost to UK employers is huge - an estimated £13.94 billion[ii].
Together, we can create a network of support across the legal community. With your help and a commitment to listening, we believe the initiative can change lives, and save them.
Email Matthew Gray for more information on registering.
[i] Health and Safety Executive (2017) Work-related Stress, Depression or Anxiety Statistics in Great Britain 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/stress.pdf.
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