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Published in Long Island Business News by Julianne Mosher
Melville-based Cona Elder law is partnering this month with the Center for Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (CCDBT) in Lake Success.
Together the two developed a customized program offering support to all of the firm’s 30 employees, creating a forward-thinking program tailored to the issues facing their team.
“When we talk about mental health, the conversation tends to center on diagnosis and treatment,” said Jennifer Cona, managing partner of the firm. “I believe we have to put our efforts toward prevention.
We learned long ago that prevention is the key to good physical health and the same holds true here.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cona Elder recognized the stresses employees are feeling.
“Since June, we’ve been coming to the office every day, operating under strict COVID regulations, wearing masks, staying six feet apart, and often working behind plastic shields,” Cona said. “On top of that, I’m well aware that so many people are also dealing with major disruptions to their personal lives, loneliness, anxiety, the fear of getting sick, and the loss of loved ones. I am personally invested in taking care of my own mental health and it was a very easy decision to push our collective mental health concerns to the forefront.”
With that motivation, Cona Elder Law asked CCDBT to craft a program aimed at proactively addressing the potential mental and emotional health concerns of its staff members.
Based in Lake Success, CCDBT has been designing and providing empirically validated, compassionate therapy services since 1999. Working within the same COVID realities, CCDBT created monthly, lunchtime Zoom sessions wherein mental health professionals facilitate discussions with Cona employees around key issues and discuss techniques to manage thoughts and emotions, minimize negative impacts and gain practical skills and tools.
Maddy Ellberger, senior staff clinician at CCDBT noted that, while such programs are just beginning to emerge in the business community, Cona Elder Law is on the leading edge and also stands out for its clear vision.
“What’s unique about the program with Cona is they’ve committed to a significant culture shift across all levels of management in the firm, normalizing and prioritizing mental health and overall wellness through long term and consistent programming,” she said. “Cona is unique in that it sought out programming to meet the specific needs of their staff, rather than a blanket wellness workshop. They are really going the extra mile to meet the needs of their people.”
Cona said the feedback has been outstanding. “I have been so pleased with how the team has embraced this program, from the feedback I’ve received to the amount of sharing the group does during our sessions. It validates my instinct that we would all benefit and has also brought us closer as a group to realize our common and differing struggles,” she said.
“We don’t think of law firms as being on the cutting edge of human resource trends and that’s usually true. But this is not about staying ahead of a trend. I see this entire program as an example of a business recognizing a problem and identifying and implementing a solution. I also see it as a program that makes a business stronger by keeping its people strong.”
Cona Elder Law is a full service law firm based in Melville, LI. Our firm concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care facility representation. We are proud to have been recognized for our innovative strategies, creative techniques and unparalleled negotiating skills unendingly driven toward our paramount objective - satisfying the needs of our clients.
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