Mental health and divorce is one of the topics we are faced with regularly. Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week which is aimed at encouraging conversations around mental health in all communities across the UK.
At Watson Morris we recognise the importance of acknowledging the impact divorce can have on the mental health of our clients. Our commitment is to help all our clients to start the next chapter of your life with dignity and confidence.
How divorce impacts each party differently during divorce
For many clients, their journey represents positive change, a fresh start or renewal. For others the situation can be less positive. They didn’t want this change and are often unprepared for it. In some cases, the change comes about through a couple mutually acknowledging the end of their relationship. They can work together, often constructively and amicably to plan the next stages of their lives. This doesn’t mean that their mental health is unaffected.
In other divorce cases, the feelings are less mutual. There is a significant difference between the “leaver” and the person who has been “left.” The leaver may regard the end of the relationship as a positive development. They may have been separated emotionally for some time and have been in the planning stage of separation for many months. They are likely to have taken advice and have a roadmap prepared and an idea of what the future will look like.
For the person who has been left, life couldn’t feel more different. For many people the breakdown comes completely out of the blue. They may find it hard to believe they didn’t see what was happening. It is normal to have overwhelming feelings of grief, anger, love and betrayal. They will be concerned for their future and for the welfare of their children. They will feel vulnerable financially. At the same time as having to come to terms with their partner’s decision they are also made to deal with a legal process, often involving complex financial decisions which can have life changing consequences. They are simply not ready to deal with what can seem like an unfeeling forensic process involving unwelcome and costly dealings with professional advisers. They feel as if they are on the back foot and that their spouse has some kind of advantage. It can feel mentally and physically exhausting.
Mental health and divorce: getting the help you need
There is little doubt that going through a divorce can have a negative impact on your mental health. Being prepared for this and working with advisors who are sensitive to these issues is a must.
It is crucial for anyone faced with these issues to get the support they need. This is often a combination of legal, emotional and personal support. Clients need to work with trusted, capable, proven lawyers, and that’s what we are. But more than this, we are a team driven by a shared purpose: to help our clients start or end a relationship with confidence. Our people, and those we have chosen to work with to provide our clients with additional services, share our values and approach.
Safeguard your metal health: top tips
There are practical steps people can take to safeguard their mental health during divorce or at any time of their lives.
- Build the support network you need around you. This can include family, friends, colleagues and others who have been through the process and who you are comfortable to share your feelings with.
- Establish a routine and make time for yourself. Remember to look after your physical health which is proven to have positive effects on mental health.
- Reflect on your feelings and any trigger points which cause anxiety. Don’t bury how you are feeling as this can cause more problems later on.Think about how it may be possible to deal with the flashpoints which often occur following a separation.
- Be kind to yourself – above all, make sure you are cutting yourself some slack and being kind to yourself.
How the team at Watson Morris can help support you during divorce
At Watson Morris have partnered with other people we know and trust. For clients facing these challenges of mental health and divorce we recommend working with one of our specialist life coaches, Clare Walters and Lynn McBreaty, who are both passionate about helping people make positive change.
Clare is an accredited practitioner with 25 years’ experience. She developed the Focussed Mindfulness Method as a powerful approach for improving emotional wellbeing and has been teaching it to other practitioners for 15 years. She uses it with clients to help them deal with overwhelming emotions, anxiety and uncertainty and find an inner confidence, clarity and calm as they work through changes in their relationships.
Lynn is a qualified life coach, crystal reiki practitioner, reiki master and personal trainer. Whether you need support at the start, during or at the end of a relationship Lynn is passionate about helping people make positive change. From weight loss to self-confidence, identity crisis’ to motivation issues or simply giving yourself time to reflect and focus on your wellbeing Lynn will help you move forward with confidence.
At Watson Morris we have a dedicated support hub to give clients the practical help they need. As well as support for your mental health during divorce this includes life coaching, parenting support, tools to help parents communicate better, advice regarding dispute resolution, legal costs and financial planning. This can be accessed at Our Support Hub – Watson Morris Family Law
Working with the right team will give you not only the practical help you need to move on to the next chapter of life with confidence, it will also help safeguard your mental health.
Written by Peter Morris
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