Today marks World Mental Health Day - and Gowling WLG is proud to be one of the first law firms in Canada to offer mental health first aid (MHFA) training to its personnel.
MHFA is the help provided to a person experiencing a mental health crisis or developing a mental health problem. Similar to the physical first aid administered to an injured person before medical treatment arrives, MHFA is given by someone who can intervene immediately until the crisis is resolved or until appropriate professional treatment is delivered.
"Research shows that members of the legal profession are at much higher risk of depression, anxiety and substance abuse than individuals in the broader population. In an effort to help change this harsh reality, our Diversity & Inclusion Council is offering MHFA training sessions to a cross-section of individuals in our Canadian offices," explained Peter Lukasiewicz, CEO of Gowling WLG Canada and chair of the firm's D&I Council.
Led by a certified MHFA master trainer, the firm's intensive training sessions teach participants how to effectively:
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems
- Provide initial help to a person in need or in crisis
- Guide a person toward appropriate professional help
After completing the training, participants have reported that they feel better equipped to assist individuals who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.
In addition to MHFA training, Gowling WLG held a number of local activities to recognize World Mental Health Day, from lunch and learns to meditation sessions. Globally, the firm produced internal "This is Me" videos, which saw individuals from across the firm sharing their mental health stories to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
Diversity and inclusion are an integral part of Gowling WLG's culture. Guided by a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the firm is a proud member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, and was the first law firm in Canada to receive the Starbucks International Excellence in Diversity Award. Gowling WLG has also been listed among the Best Employers in Canadasince 2010.