Sydney, 18 October 2019: Clayton Utz has appointed Emma Howard to the newly created role of National Mental Health Manager as part of the firm's continued investment in supporting its people to maintain good mental health.
A practising consultant psychologist for many years, Emma will help refine and improve the way Clayton Utz approaches and delivers mental health initiatives, training and education. Emma was previously the Corporate Services Manager and a Senior Consultant Psychologist for Centre for Corporate Health and its sister company, Resilia.
Emma said she saw an opportunity to bring her experience in both clinical practice and in mental health training and education to help Clayton Utz continue to build on its health and wellbeing initiatives.
"I have worked with clients in a range of industries including banking, law and media, and fundamentally the challenges are the same. We need to keep people talking about mental health and give people the reassurance that they're not alone and that there is support available," said Emma.
Clayton Utz has made mental health a priority as part of its broader health and wellbeing initiatives. Over 200 partners and employees have been trained as Mental Health First Aiders and Mental Health Champions, and all Clayton Utz people have access to training and resources on mental health related topics such as anxiety, sleep, and resilience. They can also access free, confidential 24/7 counselling by senior psychologists through the firm's Employee Assistance Program, CU Assist.
Clayton Utz Deputy Chief Executive Partner – People and Development, Kate Jordan, said the legal profession was generally getting better at encouraging people to be more open in having conversations about mental health. However, it was important to keep mental health front of mind, every day.
"The legal industry is known for having higher rates of people who are experiencing challenges with mental health, such as depression and anxiety. That's why we've really invested in building an integrated health approach around promoting positive mental wellbeing and methods of early prevention and intervention," she said, noting that this approach had seen a 72% reduction in the cost of psychological injury claims.
"Recruiting Emma as our National Mental Health Manager shows that we take our people's mental health seriously and understand that we need to maintain the momentum around the work we've done to date in peer training and support and in de-stigmatising mental health in the workplace."
Clayton Utz was recently recognised as a Gold Employer under the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Skilled Workplace Program and is a founding member the Corporate Mental Health Alliance.
The leadership of its Head of Insurance and Risk, Alexia Houston, in helping drive the firm's mental health strategy has also seen her shortlisted as a finalist for Wellness Advocate of the Year at the 2019 Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.