Global firm Dechert has introduced mental health ‘first aiders’ into its workforce, as the debate around wellbeing in the legal sector grows.
The firm said today that seven employees have undergone accredited mental health training with St John Ambulance. Today’s announcement coincides with World Mental Health Day.
US-headquartered Dechert is one of few firms to announce such a move. The announcement follows recommendations from junior lawyers that all firms should consider appointing mental health first aiders and wellbeing champions.
The first aiders will support colleagues who are struggling with mental health issues. Mental health champions have also been created who will have meetings with senior management to suggest ideas on how to improve employees’ wellbeing.
Caroline Bowes, Dechert’s director of human resources for EMEA, said: ‘All of our programmes – whether aimed at physical, financial or mental wellbeing - are designed to engage, educate and provide the best possible support to our people.’
In May, Leeds-based solicitor Jodie Hill launched a campaign to compel employers to provide a mental health first-aider for their staff, calling for the law to be amended so that it would be mandatory to appoint mental health first-aiders in the same way as physical first-aiders.