Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

This week the Mental Health Foundation brings nationwide attention to mental health issues by holding their annual Mental Health Awareness Week.  This brings much needed attention and dialogue to mental health issues in the round, but also focuses on one specific theme each year.   This year the focus is on Body Image and how we think and feel about our bodies.

By encouraging people to open up and speak about these topics which are so often brushed under the carpet, the hope is it will give people confidence to speak out and seek the help they need.   

The facts make for difficult reading:

  • 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and 1 in 5 consider taking their own life at some point.
  • Last year the Mental Health Foundation found that 30% of all adults have felt stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s almost 1 in every 3 people.
  • Mental health problems constitute the largest single source of world economic burden with an estimated global cost of £1.6 trillion- greater than cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes on their own.

Mental health problems clearly have a profound impact on a huge number of people, and it is obvious there is a significant range of contributing factors, whether it is body image or the numerous other external influences and events that people encounter in their daily lives.  As family law solicitors we see the impact of divorce and separation, which might easily lead to mental health problems. We know that any relationship breakdown can be stressful and upsetting. When this takes place in the context of family life and involves children and/or finances, this can put an intolerable stress on those involved.

We cannot remove the innate turmoil and sadness associated with the breakdown of a relationship but we can work with clients to reduce some of the additional stresses which come with the legal and practical aspects of the breakdown.  This starts with the way we run our cases.  We see no benefit in causing unnecessary animosity between parties, especially where children are involved. Our focus is on finding client centred solutions which are workable in the long term and address the needs of the whole family.  It is about “breaking up, not down”.     

Where clients or the wider family need additional support we can help identify places where this support can be accessed.  We often work closely with a number of therapists and other wellbeing practitioners so that clients can obtain the help they need.  We have held seminars on supporting children from the age of nine upwards which have addressed their mental wellbeing overall but in particular have focussed on anxiety, bullying and stress.  Speakers included Sue Atkins who is a parenting expert and broadcaster and Dr Lisa Berkley, a clinical psychologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.  We also provide resources on the same theme, for example our blog on “Supporting Children through divorce” which can be found here.

Partner Julian Bremner has also been working with eminent psychologist and psychotherapist Dr Tarun Pamneja to establish a programme called Man Mind Journey. This is a bespoke clinical programme which is specifically designed for men, and aims to help them deal with their relationship breakdown and the strains of the legal side of divorce proceedings.  Further details can be found here.

Rayden Solicitors is proud to be supporting CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) as one of our charities of the year. Together with other mental health charities, CALM’s work has seen the stigma attached to mental health slowly eroded over the past few years by increasing public awareness and encouraging everyone to talk about their mental health.  

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