LawCare: Why men in law don’t speak up about mental health

Legal mental health charity LawCare has today released the findings of its all-male focus group to understand the needs of men in law in relation to mental health support in the workplace.

The aim of the focus group, a diverse range of barristers, partners, mid-level and junior associates, in-house lawyers as well as those in support roles, from across the jurisdictions, was to understand the mental health experiences of men in law, the barriers to seeking support and what needs to change to encourage more men to seek support.

Despite the increased awareness and understanding of mental health in legal workplaces, there remain significant barriers to men seeking support.

“Men feel a palpable expectation that they should be strong, not display vulnerability, and be able to shoulder the burden of personal problems themselves without recourse to others,” said Nick Bloy, Founder of Wellbeing Republic, the report author and focus group facilitator. This, says Bloy, is heightened when working in the law:

“Working as a lawyer adds additional pressure to this sense of needing to appear perfect to the outside world. Generally, men often don’t have the emotional vocabulary to understand or express their experiences effectively, and a lack of male role models in positions of responsibility in law adds to that pressure to remain stoic.”

The charity, which offers free, confidential, emotional support to anyone working in the law including support staff and law students, has undertaken this research following an analysis of its support contacts last year, of which 35% were men. Only 25% of respondents to LawCare’s Life in the Law study last year were men.

Elizabeth Rimmer, Chief Executive of LawCare, said:

“The recommendations of this report make it clear that there needs to be a joined up and concerted effort across the profession to challenge the stigma that prevents men from speaking up about their mental health and seeking support. We will continue to champion positive change and encourage more male role models to inspire men to seek help when they need it.”

Download the report here lawcare-men-s-mental-health-focus-group-july-2022.pdf

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