As we are well aware, mental health in the legal sector is of concern to all of us – it can impact our work, relationships, what we enjoy, and our quality of life if we develop mental illnesses.
Research tells us that the sooner someone takes some positive action when they have mental health concerns, the sooner they can recover. Also, if concerns are addressed early on, there is an opportunity to prevent a mental illness from developing.
With this in mind, Queensland Law Society has a licensed mental health first aid (MHFA) instructor who started running two-day workshops for QLS members in October 2022.
QLS recently ran its third workshop on 23-24 March with 20 participants from across the legal profession. The team at Clayton Utz kindly allowed us to use their auditorium for the two-day course due to current renovations at Law Society House. The attendees took advantage of the beautiful river views, which surely promoted positive wellbeing at the workshop – thanks Clayton Utz!
Was it a fun workshop? Well, at times it was! It was very interactive and allowed some thinking time throughout as we explored mental health and how, as a mental health first aider, we can support people with mental health concerns. We are unable to diagnose mental illnesses without qualifications, however, there are various ways we can assist.
Mental health first aiders in your firm or organisation can provide support when a colleague is struggling mentally, and the skills taught throughout the course can be applied to family, friends and the wider community. A brief assessment is undertaken following the two-day workshop after which you receive an accredited mental health first aider certificate, valid for three years.
The next workshop will take place in Brisbane on 11-12 May – keep an eye on the QLS upcoming events page for more details.
MHFA refresher course
Please note that, in order to retain your mental health first aider status beyond three years, you must first complete a four-hour refresher course before the three years have elapsed. You will then hold the MHFA certificate for another three years.
Once you reach the six-year mark, you are required to complete the two-day course again in order to stay up to date.
QLS is running a MHFA refresher course on 30 May for those who attended a standard MHFA course and were accredited via an assessment between 30 November 2019 and 30 May 2020. More information will be available via the QLS website later this month.
Denise Marshall is a QLS Legal Workplace and Culture Consultant.