Legal mental health charity LawCare has published its 2021 impact report, detailing the support it gave to the legal sector last year.
The charity, which was initially set up to help solicitors with alcohol problems, has now grown to support everyone working in the legal profession on a range of issues from stress to bullying and has helped over 10,000 legal professionals and support staff since it was launched in 1997.
LawCare’s impact report shows that in 2021 the charity provided support to 667 people via 662 phone calls, 119 emails and 50 online chats including providing ongoing peer support to 64 people and funding counselling for 14 people.
The most common problems cited last year were stress (33%), anxiety (13%), depression (10%), bullying (8%) and worries about career development (8%). The number of people contacting LawCare experiencing stress has seen the biggest increase – from 170 people in 2020 to 211 last year; a rise of 24%.
Analysis also shows that the majority of those who contacted the support service were women (69%), 63% were trainees/pupils, or had been qualified less than five years, and a further 5% were law students.
Elizabeth Rimmer, Chief Executive of LawCare, said:
“We are very proud that we have supported over 10,000 people in the legal community since we began 25 years ago, with a small office space in the corner of our first employee Barry Pritchard’s kitchen and a grant from The Law Society of England and Wales. It’s been a difficult couple of years for us all and we continue to offer free, confidential, emotional support to anyone that needs us in the profession, on any issue that is worrying them, no matter how small. In our 25th anniversary year we plan to extend our advocacy work to help change the culture in the law, making it a healthier and happier place to work.”
The report also includes stories from users of the LawCare service including Charlie, who said:
“Around spring/summer time this year I was a very newly qualified solicitor who was suffering from major anxiety and going into a deep depression from a job that was toxic.
I decided to ring LawCare and spoke to the most supportive gentleman who had similar experiences and really felt and understood where I was coming from. I almost felt instantly more reassured and it wasn’t a lot long after that that I found my new job now that I absolutely love.
My stress levels have significantly gone down. I just wanted to express my gratitude to your service, and how it helped me find the right path. You guys are great!”