Barcan+Kirby champions Mental Health First Aiders


Staff at Bristol law firm, Barcan+Kirby, are training to become mental health first aid champions as the firm commits to putting mental health on equal footing to the physical wellbeing of its staff.

Twelve individuals at the firm are doing a mental health champion course in order to develop an understanding of common mental health issues. These include issues like stress in the workplace, depression, anxiety disorders, spotting the early warning signs of alcohol and drug addiction and the early onsets of mental illness. They will also be able to provide support when it comes to dealing with stigma and discrimination.

The mental health champions are trained by PES, an external service provider of workplace wellbeing services.

Anna Wilson, Executive Partner at Barcan+Kirby said that the firm recognises that absenteeism can be related to mental wellbeing.

She said:

"Due to the high pressure environment of the legal sector, we understand that our staff may need additional support to maintain a good level of mental wellbeing. Over the years, we have seen a steady increase in absenteeism amounting from a mixture of both physical and mental health wellbeing.

"Therefore, in addition to our twelve Mental Health Champions, we are also organising a week of wellbeing events next year to raise awareness of the support available to our staff and to outline the types of wellbeing support our staff can expect.

"We want to make sure mental health is not a taboo subject and be properly equipped to help and support all colleagues."

Wellbeing incentives introduced by the firm also include an increase in maternity leave when babies are born prematurely, a holiday purchase scheme to enable staff to take more time off and an ongoing commitment to flexible and agile working to allow for better work-life balance.