Cygnet Law has become the first law firm in the North East to sign up to Mind’s ‘Time to Change’ employer pledge, after completing its inaugural charity beach walk, which raised more than £500 for Redcar & Cleveland Mind.
Partners at the Redcar-based law firm, which offers specialist mental health law advice and services, signed the pledge in the presence of Redcar MP, Anna Turley, who also participated in the walk, along with more than 35 other people.
By signing the pledge, Cygnet Law demonstrate to employees, clients and the public that the business is taking action to address the stigma and discrimination around mental health. It now hopes that other law firms and businesses in the region will follow its lead and support the mental welfare of employees.
Cygnet has already begun to act on its commitment by taking part in the Better Health at Work Campaign, led by staff members Rebecca Fox and Kirsty Jackson, who have received mental health first aid training from Redcar & Cleveland Mind.
Peter Medd, director at Cygnet Law, said: “Dealing with mental illness is difficult, no matter the circumstance, so it is important that employers take action to make sure that their staff are well, and are able to support them should the need arise.
“As we offer Mental Health Law advice and services, we regularly see first-hand the impact that mental health issues can have on people, their families and the local community, so we understand the importance of offering support early, before things escalate.
“Cygnet’s team is committed to ensuring that our workplace is one where staff know what resources are available to them and how to access them, either to prevent mental health difficulties, or to offer support during times of need.”
Redcar & Cleveland Mind’s Chief Executive, Veronica Harnett, said: “We’re thrilled to see the impact our training has had on the team at Cygnet. We work regularly with employers across the area, delivering training to help organisations be better equipped to support their staff.
“We’re looking forward to working in partnership with Peter and the team and we’re delighted that they’re signing the ‘Time to Change’ Employer Pledge as a first step in tackling stigma.
“Many employers are still unsure how best to help staff who may be suffering from mental illness. Managers and colleagues may be nervous about saying the wrong thing, so developing an ethos where mental health is openly addressed and talked about is the key to getting things right.”
Anna Turley, Labour Member of Parliament for Redcar, said: “It is great to see Cygnet Law signing the Time To Change pledge. The firm already do fantastic work assisting clients on mental health issues and this pledge demonstrates their commitment to the health of their employees too. I hope this positive step sets an example for other local employers and encourages them to make the same commitment.
“Poor mental health is a growing problem for our society and I know that, locally, referrals to Redcar & Cleveland Mind have increased significantly in recent months. I am proud to take part in their charity beach walk to raise vital funds to support their work and to highlight the importance of getting support as soon as mental health problems arise.”
Photo: Front row, Anna Turley MP, Veronica Harnet and Cygnet Law’s Peter Medd.