Hogan Lovells brings counselling in-house as City pushes for mental well-being

Hogan Lovells has taken its counselling service on-site, joining a growing number of UK law firms pushing for better mental health among its staff.

The firm has decided to bring its counselling service in-house in order to make it, “more accessible and convenient” for staff, who can now access a counsellor two days a week.

London managing partner Susan Bright said: “The health and well-being of our people is a key priority for us and we are always reviewing what more we can provide. As part of this, in addition to our already wide range of benefits, such as our in-house gym, GP service, onsite occupational health service, on-site physiotherapist and employee assistance programme, in January we introduced an on-site counselling service. 

“Our counsellor is available two days per week on a completely confidential self-referral basis. We recently held a well-being awareness week which included free health checks, healthcare advice and a number of seminars on topics such as emotional wellbeing and healthy eating.”

Last year the firm pledged to examine its policies and procedures around workplace stress and mental health in the wake of the death of IP partner David Latham (13 September 2013). A spokesperson said the move to bring counselling on-site was not related to Latham’s death. 

The issues also impact working in-house. In November, Barclays’ head of compliance and regulatory relations Hector Sants resigned from the post after taking a temporary leave of absence due to stress and exhaustion (13 November 2013). According to UK mental health charity Mind, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

A number of firms have introduced programmes to help its staff deal with work-related stress. In September 2009 legacy Herbert Smith launched an internal training programme to help its staff recognise the symptoms of stress and deal with mental illness (28 September 2009).

Depression 2.6 in 100 people
Anxiety 4.7 in 100 people
Mixed anxiety and depression 9.7 in 100 people
Phobias   2.6 in 100 people
OCD  1.3 in 100 people
Panic disorder 1.2 in 100 people
Post traumatic stress disorder 3.0 in 100 people
Eating disorders  1.6 in 100 people

 Source: Mind