LawCare has seen a 24% increase in the number of legal professionals contacting them for support – based on the number of contacts from January to August 2023, compared with the same period in 2022.
Legal professionals are overwhelmed and stressed, and these mental health concerns can be exacerbated or caused by the work environment. These are tough times for legal professionals adjusting to a post pandemic world, against a backdrop of global financial crisis, with heavy workloads, unrealistic targets and a workplace culture where there is still stigma about being open and honest about your mental health.
In light of this increased demand for support, LawCare wants to encourage employers to do more to create mentally healthy workplaces and protect mental health.
On World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10th October), LawCare are launching new guidance for employers to help them take steps to protect mental health at work by reducing the risks legal professionals face to their mental health at work, also known as psychosocial risks, rather than waiting until mental health issues have arisen
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said:
“The tendency in legal workplaces is to respond to colleagues with work related mental health concerns once a problem has arisen. The goal should be to prevent these developing in the first place. Workplaces need to move from a support based approach to mental health to a risk based approach.
The legal workplace is characterised by inherent psychosocial risks to mental health – working long hours, poor work life balance, meeting the expectations of demanding clients, heavy caseloads, the pressure of deadlines and billing targets, whilst maintaining high standards of ethical and professional conduct. Employers need to accept there are risks to mental health in the accepted working practices in law and take steps to mitigate, modify or remove these risks. Employers should focus on how the workplace can protect the mental health of their people, not undermine it.”
In addition to the new guidance, LawCare are focusing on people risk management at their annual conference on Thursday 16th November 2023, online from 9am to 1pm.
The “Building a better life in the law” conference will be exploring the psychosocial risks in legal workplaces and why effective management and supervision is the key to supporting the mental wellbeing of your staff, meeting regulatory objectives and a fostering a culture where people feel valued and belong.