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Rebecca Smith | 4th January 2023

Managing your mental health during family proceedings

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Rebecca Smith | 4th January 2023

Managing your mental health during family proceedings


Around 1 in 4 people experience mental ill health at some point in their lives, and with the UK divorce rate at an all-time high, many couples will have played a part in this statistic.

Divorce, separation and other family disputes can be one of the most stressful things a person can go through and is generally accepted as being akin to suffering a bereavement. There are five known stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It’s important to be aware of these processes to help you manage your mental health.

If you find yourself going through a divorce or separation, it is essential to look after your mental health so that you are able to make important decisions for your future. Prevention is always better than cure and so is often best to be aware of how you are feeling early on and seek the necessary support as soon as possible. This will assist in both short-term struggles, as well as hopefully preventing any long-term issues.

Support

Support is key when going through family proceedings, and surrounding yourself with a good network of family and friends you can talk to will always help. Use your loved ones to discuss worries, concerns, thoughts, and to seek their advice too.

Sometimes, talking to family and friends just isn’t enough, and so it is also important to seek professional support early on in family proceedings so that you can mentally prepare yourself for the process and ensure that you are able to and confident in making decisions for your future. It may be worth booking an appointment with your GP or a counsellor, so that they can offer support, signpost you to mental health support groups, and advise you on ways to keep mentally healthy during this difficult time. There are lots of counsellors and therapists available and it may take a bit of trial and error to find the right one. It’s important you have the right “fit” so that you feel comfortable talking freely about how you feel.

As well as this, having a supportive legal team to guide you through the process is so important, not only to advise you on the legalities of the situation and offering practical solutions, but also to support you during the process so that you feel listened to and understood, and to encourage you to look after your mental health.

How we could help you

The Family team are all members of Resolution which is an organisation that promotes a constructive and non-confrontational approach to resolving family issues to provide better outcomes for people going through family law disputes. Resolution has additional codes of practice to which we all adhere, one of which is to “manage stress in what can be an already stressful situation”. You can rest assured that we, at Paris Smith, would be in your corner and support you from the very start. We are a team of experienced solicitors who deal with a wide range of family law matters and are alive to the presence of mental health difficulties our clients often face.

If you would like to get in touch for a chat about how we could help you, please contact a member of the Family team.

Mental health support

Below is a list of some websites where you can access free mental health support:

  1. NHS (mental health)
  2. Steps to wellbeing (Southampton and Dorset)
  3. Mind (mental health charity)
  4. Only Mums and Only Dads – support for parents who are struggling to make the best decisions for their family during separation and divorce

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