Birmingham and Solihull-based law firm, The Wilkes Partnership, has trained 11 employees as mental health first aiders who will provide support and aid for colleagues at the firm.

The purpose of the training was to provide employees with the skills to recognise the signs that someone may be experiencing mental ill health, including stress or depression, and to offer initial support, encouragement, and guidance on how and where to seek help.

Andrew Garland, Partner and mental health first aider at Wilkes commented: “We aim as a group to promote good mental health across Wilkes and try to reduce the stigma that is associated with mental health issues.

“In England, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year, and 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week.

“We, therefore, want to ensure that at Wilkes we build an open culture and encourage everyone to feel they can share their mental health struggles and know they can talk to colleagues about it without judgement.”

Each office will have its own Mental Health First Aiders, to ensure everyone has access to somebody to speak to. Simultaneously, the first aiders will be keeping an eye out for anyone who they think is struggling, in order to tackle any wellbeing issues first-hand.

Andrew continues: “With the legal profession having the tendency to be stressful and highly demanding, we wanted to ensure that our employees know there is always someone that can lend a listening ear and has time for them, whether it is for a quick for a walk, a cup of tea/coffee or just have a sit in a quiet place.”