By Litigation Director, Katherine Flashman Kitson
Mental health has been a dirty phrase for a long time, but that’s all changing.
We have seen the younger Royals, William, Catherine and Harry promoting the importance of understanding and discussing mental health issues.
I have known for a long time that mental health is something that concerns us all and our approach to our clients and our legal practice reflects this.
When we experience any sort of difficulty or trauma in life, psychological health is affected, whether you like it or not.
If I am pursuing a claim for a client who has had an accident I always ask about their psychological reaction, as well as their physical. It is just as important, and sometimes more so.
Put it this way, if you have a broken leg, but feel okay in yourself, you can still function. If you are physically well but you have a mental breakdown, you can’t function.
We are all conditioned not to think too much about our mental health and adopt a “head down, get on with it, things will get better” kind of attitude. That’s fair enough, and in most situations it works. But not all situations. Sometimes things don’t get better on their own.
Many of us shy away from the idea of attending professionals and talking about feeling low. This can be seen as a sign of weakness or failure.
But actually there are a myriad of things that can be done to promote mental health between the extremes of doing nothing and seeking medical help and these are things that we need to be aware of and explore to protect and preserve our mental health. In the same way as we are concerned about exercise and nutrition to promote our physical wellbeing, we can adopt an active approach to our mental wellbeing.
Most of us have busy lives, busy working lives, busy family lives. Sometimes it never stops. In former times many of us drew on family support and the support of community and possibly religion. The support from these institutions would see us through bad times. For many people now this support is not available or is not part of their lives.
Here at Parnalls we have close relationships with medical professionals who can assist clients with any mental health issues. These can range from mental health assessments needed for Will making, Powers of Attorney etc. and also experts who can assess psychological health for the purposes of evidence in accident claims, and make treatment recommendations, hopefully to get a client back on the path to psychological recovery and normal function. As lawyers we can’t afford to ignore mental health, and nor can you.