It has long been established that physical illness and injury can impact someone’s mental wellbeing. That link has only become clearer for me over the 13 years I have been representing cyclists who have been injured on the roads.

For so many of our clients, leading an active life has multiple benefits and when that is taken away from them in a blink of an eye, it can have knock on consequences.

There can be a sudden loss of control and feeling of helplessness. There are also a lot of unanswered questions; how long will my recovery take? Will I be able to work? Can I return to cycling and exercise? The psychological toll a physical injury takes on someone may not be evident within the first few days, weeks or even months.

It is readily accepted that if you have a physical injury, you seek medical attention and support. Whether that be attending A&E, your GP or a physiotherapist. However, the same cannot be said for society’s view when seeking attention for a psychological injury. While the physical injury can be seen, the psychological impact can go undetected.

All too often I see clients who have suffered in silence. It is only when speaking with their loved ones or reading between the lines of conversations, that the true impact comes to light. Of course it can manifest itself in many different forms and we always need to be on the look out for those subtle changes in peoples’ personalities.

As a firm, we want to make sure our solicitors are equipped with the right tools to be able to help our clients seek the right assistance. We recently had Dr Yameen Qureshi, Consultant Psychiatrist present to us on the spectrum of psychiatric conditions and injuries. This helped us all understand the ‘red flags’ to be aware of and what help is out there for those in need.

Interestingly, Mental Health Awareness Week begins today, running from 13th to 19th May and the theme is “movement: moving more for our mental health.” I have seen many clients who manage their mental wellbeing by cycling. When that is suddenly taken away from them, the consequences can be far reaching.

I have spoken with clients who have been able to come off anti-depressant medication and solely manage their mental health through exercise. While this is great to hear, the consequence of their accident means that control is taken away from them and as personal injury lawyers, we need to be on the look out for when help is warranted.

While I am well aware of courses out there to better understand mental health, I feel it is important to equip your staff with the best foundations to look after themselves first and foremost before they can do the best by their clients.

In a society that often prioritises productivity over well-being, the importance of an active lifestyle for mental health cannot be overstated. When we introduced a four-day working week for all full time members of staff in 2021, we had a vision that if you give staff the freedom to spend that extra day doing something they enjoy, their productivity will increase while they are at work. In turn, this would boast mental health.

Three years on, we have staff who spend their free time training for the UCI World Champs, marathons, HYROX, and volunteer for Vie Velo tandem cycling club to name just a few. We also actively encourage staff to bring their dogs to work. This forces staff to step away from their desks and enjoy the outdoors.

(L-R) Indi, Copper, Flynn, Winston

Finding the small moments in the day to get moving, however that looks for you and, in turn, embracing an active lifestyle, we not only improve our physical health but also nurture our mental and emotional well-being.

Jodi Gordon – Partner

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