Hugh James increases number of mental health first aiders

Hugh James mental health
Credit: Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com

Law firm Hugh James has added 13 accredited mental health first aiders (MHFAs) to support its 660 members of staff across the UK.

Announced to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week (15 – 21 May), this takes the number of MHFA trained staff at Hugh James to 17. A total of 11 Cardiff-based employees are now trained, along with two volunteer workers in the London office, and one in Manchester.

The MHFAs will support the firm’s workforce by spotting the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health, and providing help on a first aid basis by guiding affected employees towards the appropriate support.

According to Hugh James, it aims to quadruple the number of MHFAs at the firm, with staff in Southampton and partners across the firm booked in for training later this year.

Di Brooks, director of HR at Hugh James, said: “Mental health first aiders are an investment in the wellbeing of our employees, and they are as important to us as our staff trained in physical first aid. What we’re hearing from our people, is that they feel the same, and we are delighted that so many have come forward for our first round of training, taking the total number to seventeen, with more to follow later this year.

“By increasing the number of mental health first aiders, we’re creating a culture where people feel comfortable talking about mental health. We must do what we can to normalise conversations around mental health and create opportunities to raise awareness and show our employees how we can support them.”

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The firm hosts two virtual ‘Time to Talk’ sessions per year, as well as encouraging conversations about Dying Matters Week and the menopause, following the introduction of its menopause policy. It has introduced the Health & Her app, offers Health Assured’s employee assistance programme (EAP), and works with Yurtle to support those with dependants and caring responsibilities.

Hugh James also recently updated its policies to support bereaved employees, those with caring responsibilities and those affected by a life-limiting or terminal illness.