Norton Rose Fulbright will hold a series of events for staff to highlight the importance of mental health awareness in the workplace in the week leading up to World Mental Health Awareness Day.
The law firm will launch its mental health awareness strategy on the week commencing 6 October.
World Mental Health Awareness Day 2014 on 10 October will focus on schizophrenia, which affects around 26 million people globally.
In the week leading up to this, Norton Rose Fulbright will hold a series of lunchtime talks for staff in conjunction with providers including Bupa and Roodlane Medical, as well as local GPs and gyms. These aim to highlight the importance of a good work-life balance and good overall health.
Its final event, which will take place on World Mental Health Awareness Day, will be a lunchtime talk focusing on losing the stigma around mental health problems.
Vicky Rose (pictured), reward, pensions and mobility manager at Norton Rose Fulbright, said: “We have been advertising the events with posters around our office building, flyers handed out to people as they head into work and booking through our intranet.”
She added that the firm is aiming to create a global initiative against the stigma attached to mental health.
“Health problems like broken arms are clear to see, but some people are not sure or not comfortable with mental illness, which can make matter worse for sufferers by not talking. An open working environment is the most effective.
“Mental health has been focused on in the media over the last couple of years, and we aim to support that in our offices and jump on the bandwagon.
”It’s become more acceptable to talk about in the workplace, so we will be holding more events over the next year, and we already have speakers in mind to provide a personal experience of tackling illness at work.”
Rose explained that legal practices can often be stressful working environments where employees have to cope with hectic, long hours. She added that there can also be negative attitudes towards work and mental health. “If productivity is high and colleagues are having difficulties, we need to address that” she said.
Norton Rose Fulbright already offers a helpline, five face-to-face counselling sessions a year and long-term help for staff experiencing mental health issues. The firm also has clinically trained professionals in place as the first port of call for those dealing with such issues.
The global law firm is aiming to bring its providers together to offer staff an even broader approach to tackling mental health. As a global initiative, it has representatives for the cause around the world, including in the US, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.