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Diversity and inclusion

Mental health and wellbeing

Freshfields is driving an open, non-judgemental and inclusive conversation about mental health at all levels of the firm across the globe.

Our ongoing commitment to create the right environment to foster open and mindful communication underlines the importance placed on mental wellbeing at Freshfields, which itself forms part of our broader thinking on employee wellbeing.

In partnership with Mental Health First Aid England, Freshfields has created a fully trained Global Mental Health Support team, equipped with the skills to recognise, support and provide guidance to those who may be experiencing mental health issues.

We have achieved our pledge to have at least one-in-25 of our staff trained in mental health first aid skills by World Mental Health Day 2019 (10 October).

However, this pledge goes far beyond the numbers. We are targeting specific populations where we have less people trained, and run refresher sessions for those already in the support team. We proactively encourage engagement with these ‘mental health first-aiders’ in tandem with a number of other wellbeing programmes and events that run across the firm. We promote a number of key awareness days including World Mental Health Day, supporting the green ribbon campaign in the UK and ‘Time to Talk’ day.

Our Freshfields Mental Health Affinity Network, the first chapter of which is in the UK, supports our work in this area and aims to raise awareness, normalise conversations around mental health and support its members and colleagues by promoting good mental health and ways to maintain it.

For 2021, we introduced additional wellbeing measures for our people around the world, in recognition of their hard work and dedication alongside the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. These included:

  • Closing all our offices globally for two ‘Freshfields days’ over the coming months.
  • A 'Community Day' for each office, to allow teams to reconnect and give back to our communities.
  • On all Fridays from the first week in May until the end of the summer, Freshfields applied a 'cameras off' and ‘no afternoon meetings’ rule for internal meetings across the firm.