A Cornish charity that provides essential mental health support to young and vulnerable people has visited Stephens Scown LLP’s Truro office, as part of a new charity partnership.
Invictus Trust was founded in 2011 by Steve Cowburn and his family in the wake of his son Ben’s suicide, and the charity was chosen by Stephens Scown employees in Cornwall as the county’s new charity partner.
Steve told attendees about the history of Invictus Trust and what they are hoping to achieve moving forward. The tragedy of Ben’s death was partly seen as a result of a lack of mental health support in Cornwall, which inspired Steve and his family to ensure that other young adults with similar issues would have better facilities in the future.
Among the charity’s accomplishments so far are the establishment of a mental health unit in Bodmin, the Sowenna Unit, which opens in September. It will provide 24-hour support for young people who have been sectioned and will mean that patients will benefit from a local support centre; previously, cases would be referred to distant counties such as Kent or Cheshire.
Anna Davies, a trainee in Stephens Scown’s dispute resolution team, is the chair of the firm’s Cornwall Charity Committee. She organised Steve’s visit to the office and said:
“One of the most striking moments of Steve’s talk was when he asked people to raise their hands if they had a physical ailment in the last 12 months, then to do the same if they had a mental one; the former question prompted almost everyone to raise their hands, whilst no-one raised their hand to the latter.
“There is still an ongoing stigma about mental health issues, and Steve’s talk highlighted the importance of not only raising funds to build facilities to support those will mental illnesses, but also of fostering an environment where mental health can be discussed openly and without judgment.”
Stephens Scown has signed up the Mindful Employer Charter, and has implemented various initiatives to support and raise awareness around wellbeing and positive mental health.
Reflecting on the new charity partnership, Steve said:
“I was impressed by Stephens Scown’s commitment to supporting the mental health of its employees, and look forward to its fundraising efforts in future”.
As well as the Sowenna unit, Steve also discussed the work that Invictus Trust does in schools to signpost students to mental health support. More recently, the Charity is exploring the use of ways in which virtual reality equipment can improve users’ mental health.
New Giving Back policies at Stephens Scown, introduced last year, mean that colleagues can take three days annual leave to volunteer for charities or causes close to their hearts, over and above their annual leave. Our solicitors are also able to undertake pro-bono work for worthy causes and provide valuable advice and legal services to charitable organisations which otherwise may not be able to afford it.