Chris Parsons, chairman of Herbert Smith Freehills’ India practice, tells his story of depression, addiction and alcoholism to Mark Yacano in this episode of Erasing the Stigma. He talks about how his upbringing impacted his mental health and how telling his story has helped his colleagues in the legal profession face their mental health demons.
Spending most of his time in India, a country which has become his second home, Chris Parsons is the guiding force behind Herbert Smith Freehills’ India Practice. Having spent nearly 35 years at the firm, Chris has spent over 15 years adding value to both Indian groups and to global businesses looking to invest in India. He has a deep understanding of the country and sits on the board of the UK India Business Council the primary body that promotes business relations between the UK and India. One of Chris’ passions is mental health and well-being. Having suffered from serious mental health issues himself, he is very aware of the stigma that surrounds the topic. His aim is to reduce this stigma so that mental ill-health is treated exactly the same as physical ill-health. He does this by telling his own personal story both within HSF, to clients and to other organisations. Chris completed an intensive programme in Psychotherapy at Regent’s University in London sponsored by HSF. His aim is to build on the excellent work already being undertaken by HSF by establishing a dedicated centre of excellence for mental wellness in 2020 – both for the global firm and for clients and contacts. Chris is also a trustee of MQ Mental Health (the leading mental health research charity in the UK). Its vision is to build a world where mental illness is understood, effectively treated and ultimately prevented.