What inspired you to become involved in DIVERSE?
I think the more progress we make
- and much has been made - the
more we see how much is still to
be done. Breaking down prejudice
- socio-economic as well as racial -
on all sides can be a subtle process,
especially when people aren't always
aware that the barriers are even
there. But the benefits are enormous.
We're working in three ways: more
broadly to engage the City; to engage
internally; and to change attitudes by
celebrating diversity. I'm particularly
keen on using events to raise the
profile of the conversation.
We had talks from Sandra Kerr OBE,
and Matthew Ryder QC. We ran a
writing competition around food and
particular recipes that held special
memories for people. A number
were shortlisted and then our staff
restaurant prepared the dishes,
with the stories on display. That was
immensely popular. Something
like this involves everybody, and
opens a dialogue even with those
who perhaps might not consider
themselves traditionally as having a
place in the DIVERSE Network.
But it is for everyone.
Why do we need a mental health and wellbeing
network like Thrive?
Law in the City is full of high
achievers and deep thinkers working
under pressure, a combination which
can in some circumstances increase
the potential for mental ill-health.
It's not restricted to the profession:
many have loved ones or friends who
have been affected, and in reality
everyone can benefit from positive
practices which encourage mental
wellbeing. Thankfully, there has been
a real shift in the last few years in how
the legal profession recognises and
addresses these issues.
Thrive was inaugurated in 2018 with
a panel discussion aimed at raising
awareness and reducing stigma.
The event had a record number
of attendees and was followed by
many messages of support and
others volunteering to tell their own
personal stories on our intranet site.
Thrive offers a wide range of activities,
such as talks from mental health
professionals, yoga and art workshops.
Now, in our second year, the network
is focusing on self-care. We have just
held several events for Mental Health
Awareness Week and we have some
more exciting things planned.