There are plenty of psychologists in the City of London. Organisations like the Rood Lane Medical Centre in New Broad Street or the City Psychology Group at Canary Wharf spend their time consulting with banking professionals who are struggling to cope. However, one man in particular seems to have made a career out of understanding what pushes high performing professional services employees over the edge: Dr. Bill Mitchell at The Mitchell Practice in London's West End.
It was Mitchell who worked with William Broeksmit, the 58 year-old senior risk manager at Deutsche Bank, who took his own life in January 2014. During today's coroner's inquest into Broeksmit's death, it was revealed that Mitchell saw Broeksmit once before he hanged himself. Then, Broeksmit determined that Mitchell was anxious and 'catastrophizing' about the outcomes of regulatory investigations into Deutsche Bank. Broeksmit was prescribed Xanax in July and didn't see Mitchell again. Tragically, Broeskmit, who had a family predisposition to bipolar disorder, killed himself six months later.
We were unable to speak to Mitchell, who was busy working with patients. However his practice website, which is adorned with photographs of the City of London, says Mitchell specializes in, 'treating conditions that result from the pressures of life today' and that he has a particular interest in palliating, "work related psychological difficulties recognizing that many people work in circumstances that can easily lead to the loss of any balance to life which increases the potential for them becoming exhausted or ill."
Among other things, Mitchell offers cognitive behavioural therapy and anxiety management techniques to the patients he works with. He has run sessions on well being and resilience for senior managers at Barclays and has co-directed the Partner Survival Programme for PWC for 16 years. It's not clear why Mitchell's treatment of Broeskmit was curtailed, but it seems a tragic shame.
Mitchell himself writes that his clinical work is, "about rebuilding resilience in people who have been temporarily “de-railed” by complex life events." Following a spate of suicides in banking this year, his services should surely be made better use of.
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