Wellbeing and mental health
The legal profession is overrepresented when it comes to mental illness and in Australia, lawyers are more likely than the general population to experience depression and anxiety. The Brain and Mind Research Institute reported in 2009 that almost a third of solicitors and one in five barristers surveyed suffered from clinical depression during their career.
Law firms and legal industry bodies across Australia are committed to the wellbeing and mental health of all lawyers and there are number of resources to encourage education and awareness of this important issue. Below are just a few.
LIV Member Assistance Program
The Law Institute of Victoria offers members an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide support to practitioners experiencing challenges, concerns or issues affecting them at work or at home.
For more information about this program and LIV’s other wellbeing support services visit their website.
Resilience@law is a collaboration between major firms and The College of Law. It aims to raise the levels of awareness and understanding of the nature and impact of stress, depression and anxiety across the legal profession. To encourage education and awareness of mental health and awareness in the legal profession generally Resilience@Law together with 10 other firms committed funding to work with Black Dog and artist Matthew Johnstone to create a series of videos for mental health month – Staying Well in the Law. Below are the links to the three separate videos and also a link to the full video.
- Part I: The Build Up (3.30 mins)
- Part II: The Fall (3.34 mins)
- Part III: The Bounce Back (4.15mins)
- Staying Well in the Law – Parts I – III (11 mins)
LSSA’s free online health and wellbeing package – 1 CPD unit
The Law Society of South Australia, with a grant received from the Professional Standards Council of Australia, has developed a free online health and wellbeing package that aims to expand participants’ knowledge of mental health issues, and for participants to then contribute to building a culture of wellness and self-care throughout the legal profession. To access the program, go to the Law Society of South Australia ‘s website. You don’t have to be a LSSA member but you will need to create an account and login. Click on the wellbeing and resilience logo at the bottom of the front page to get to the page with the wellness and resilience online program. It should take between one to one and a half hours, and completing it earns you one CPD unit in the compulsory area of professional development.
Minds Count Foundation
The Minds Count Foundation’s (formerly the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation) objective is to decrease work related psychological ill-health in the legal community and to promote workplace psychological health and safety. Since its beginnings in August 2008, the foundation has been at the forefront of building greater awareness of depression and anxiety across all areas of the legal fraternity. It continues to improve education and build effective models of support which focus on mental health wellbeing within the legal education system and the legal profession. In particular their free Workplace Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines that provide a comprehensive set of resources designed to protect and promote psychological health and safety in the legal workplace.
Other useful links
If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health concerns please contact the following organisations: