Mental health and wellbeing support in the legal profession would not be what it is today without LawCare, the Law Society of England and Wales said today as we celebrate the charity operating for 25 years.
Commenting on the anniversary, Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce:
“As one of the independent funders and a principal founder of LawCare, the Law Society is delighted to celebrate the charity’s 25th anniversary.
When LawCare was founded in 1997, it is likely that not many people were having meaningful conversations about mental health and wellbeing at work in the profession.
LawCare started when a group of lawyers from all areas of the profession lobbied the Law Society for independent funding to be put in place to support lawyers with alcohol addiction.
LawCare started with the anticipation it would be helping the profession with alcohol addiction.
However, it soon became clear that lawyers had other needs, so the charity developed extensive expertise in helping lawyers deal with illicit drug use, depression and stress.
The legal profession has always been particularly at risk of mental health challenges, with distinct burnout risks posed by the nature of the work lawyers handle.
It is true that the tide has turned compared to 25 years ago, but there is still work to be done.”
LawCare’s Life in the Law report found that 56.5% of respondents had talked about mental ill-health at work, with the reasons for not doing so related to the stigma that would attach.
60.7% of respondents said they’d experienced anxiety often, very often or all the time, 48.4% had experienced low mood and 28.9% experienced depression.
The pandemic also had an impact on the profession. Nearly 60% were more concerned about the increased pressures around work-life balance. Some respondents found it difficult to maintain boundaries, keep motivated and concentrate on tasks. I. Stephanie Boyce added:
“To date, LawCare has helped 10,000 legal professionals find support with their mental ill-health or wellbeing.
They have a helpline, live online chat and email. There are 90 peer-supporters who currently work or have worked in the legal profession.
I urge our members to make use of the services provided by LawCare. It’s free, confidential and offers emotional support to legal professionals working in the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
With charities such as LawCare on hand to support the profession, I hope that we can continue to address these issues so colleagues can have a rewarding career and a supportive workplace.”