Notice each other
I have been contacted by a number of people who feel that they have lawyers around them that are really struggling. My absolute belief is that even the smallest gesture can make a difference. If you see somebody who looks like they are struggling, and you have concerns for their mental wellbeing – please speak to them. The R U OK website has some great resources if you’re unsure of what to say. If working in a firm that has people and development, human resources, etc., ask them for guidance. You can keep confidentiality, you don’t need to say who you’re worried about, just ask how you can help.
The smallest gesture
And always remember – the smallest gesture can help – a smile, asking them if they’re ok, asking them if they want to go for a walk, giving them a juice or some flowers. Do you know what, often when you’re experiencing something stressful, sometimes you can’t even look at people and the easiest thing to do is withdraw. We can’t expect people to know that they should ask for help. Don’t get me wrong, I encourage every single person that I speak to not to be afraid to ask for help to get what they need to become well and happy again because, do you know what, life is too short.
Meet people where they are
I’ve also had some people say to me I’ve tried to help my friend but they’re not doing anything about it. In my experience you have to meet people where they are. You don’t need to get frustrated at what progress they’re making. It’s important always to have patience and to act with kindness. To people experiencing despair, anxiety and pressure – the struggle is enormous and very real for them. Depending on how long a person has been struggling like this, it can actually be incapacitating so I always say please don’t give up on someone.
You don’t need to have to do this alone
And you don’t have to do all of this yourself. Sometimes the best help you can give somebody is by saying I really think we need to talk to somebody else who can help. Then you can stick with this person and be by their side as they journey through this. In my own career I’ve been through some really difficult patches. I’ve written about them in my blog recently. What has kept me going is that I had some really supportive and strong mentors.
Career is just one part of your life
Our careers are very important, especially if we’re lucky enough to be in careers that we’re very passionate about. But careers are just one part of your life. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it and if you see somebody that you know needs help please reach out. Sometimes it’s human nature for people if someone asks if you’re ok to say I’m totally fine. They may be scared to admit it or they may not realise they are showing sings of being under pressure. Keep going, keep trying and remember you don’t have to do all of this yourself. Tap into to the resources and the expertise around you to make sure that the people that you find that are struggling get the help that they need and be patient, be kind, be present.
In my experience, I have never, ever regretted noticing someone and I have never, ever regretted helping someone. It can literally save a life.