MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2020

Supporting Mental Health Awareness Week at Kingsley Napley

22 May 2020

“Kindness” is the theme of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week, but it has also been a recurring theme throughout the coronavirus outbreak, during which many who face financial, physical, emotional and psychological pressures have been shown great gestures of kindness by others. It has brought neighbours and communities together, demonstrated the sacrifice our key workers are willing to make for the greater good, and shone a light on small gestures which may have previously gone unseen. This is why the Mental Health Foundation decided to change the theme of this year’s week from “Sleep” to “Kindness".
 

As Stephen Parkinson, Kingsley Napley’s Senior Partner, wrote in his blog earlier this week: “Kindness is an exceptional quality and we should cherish it. It builds resilience, individually and collectively. It makes our firm a better place to work.

The importance of kindness and mental health is always high on the agenda at Kingsley Napley, and we embrace the annual Mental Health Awareness Week as an opportunity to raise awareness among our people about the tools and channels available to support their mental health and wellbeing. Mental health affects us all, at different times and in different ways, and it’s important for us to be there to support our people whenever and however they need us.  Shannett Thompson, a Senior Associate in our Regulatory team and Chair of our BAME group, has also written a blog about mental health within ethnic communities.

In previous years, we have arranged presentations from guest speakers and our charities, hosted workshops and delivered desk drops of goodies and leaflets, among other activities. With almost everyone working remotely this year, we had to do something a little different, so this week’s virtual activities have included:

  • 1-2-1 virtual counselling sessions funded by the firm
  • Offered free subscription to Thrive, an NHS approved app that helps users boost mental wellbeing and resilience
  • “7 day kindness challenge” – encouraging everyone to be kind to themselves and others
  • “KN Kindness Notes” – providing a way for our people to thank someone else and recognise acts of kindness
  • “KN Sleep School” – a webinar focused on the importance of sleep in personal health and wellbeing
  • Shared tips on being kind to yourself and shared links to podcasts and videos about mental health and wellbeing
  • “KN Kindness Slido” – an online poll highlighting why people like to work at KN

Now, more than ever, supporting both the physical and mental health of our people is the firm’s focus, and will be central to the return to work plans that we will be making in the coming weeks and months. 

We have found that the most helpful way to support our people during this uncertain time is through communication – regular, clear, informative and in many different forms, including:

  • Establishing a “working during COVID-19” hub on our portal with resources and checklists for looking after your mental health, and information on the resources and support available
  • Sign posts to the firm’s mental health first aid trained staff from each area of the business
  • Keeping communication open and transparent with daily emails from our senior leaders, some of which have been special editions on mental health and wellbeing
  • Equipping staff members with Skype and Zoom and encouraging regular virtual ‘face-to-face’ catch ups
  • Publishing blogs, articles and videos regularly on nutrition, exercise and finding the balance
  • Sharing stories and photos of the ways in which people are coping in lockdown
  • Continuing our weekly choir and free pilates and yoga classes via Zoom
  • Moving our training sessions online and hosting virtual seminars on building resilience and sleep school
  • Supporting team socials – which have included fizz and a quiz, virtual pubs, bingo, catchphrase, murder mystery nights, through the key hole, drawing tutorials and much more
  • Running a pulse survey – to ascertain what people liked and what they needed more support with

We have a number of responsible business committees at Kingsley Napley, including charities & community, diversity & inclusion, environment, pro bono and wellbeing, all of which work collaboratively to deliver a positive impact for our firm members, clients, and our wider local community.

Our wellbeing committee is a dedicated group, established to help improve mental, as well as physical, wellbeing. We have previously partnered with, and supported a number of mental health charities, including SANE and Maytree, and our charities & community committee has organised events to raise money for these causes over the years. We have also made donations to these and many more charities during COVID-19.

As we approach the end of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, it is our wish that a focus on kindness and supporting mental health will continue to be a constant theme that we can all embrace and support moving forwards.

About the authors

Vicki Tavener, HR Manager, and Helle Asquith, Senior Marketing Manager, are both members of the Kingsley Napley’s wellbeing committee.

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