Research suggests that 1 in 6 employees at any one time will experience mental health issues in the UK. These account for 30-40% of absences from work and as much as 50% of all long-term sick leave cases.
Legal professionals fall within a high-risk group of individuals who are likely to experience the symptoms of mental ill-health during their professional lives.
Many professionals struggle to manage work-related stress, suffer from anxiety or depression, have difficulty sleeping, find it hard to switch off, feel overwhelmed or even 'burnt out'. These experiences are becoming more and more common in the workplace as people struggle to keep up with technology, ensure excellent client care and meet the daily demands of litigation.
A report published by the Bar Council in 2015 stated that 1 in 3 lawyers find it difficult to control or stop worrying, 2 in 3 feel that showing signs of stress equals weakness and 59% demonstrated unhealthy levels of perfectionism.
Clearly, there is a growing need to address mental health issues in the workplace in a way which responds sensitively to the needs of the individuals in order to ensure a healthy working environment, which in turn promotes productivity and commitment.
A recent initiative that has been launched in an attempt to tackle some of these issues is Wellness for Law UK, set up by Rachel Spearing, Co-Founder of the Bar Wellbeing Project.Wellness for Law UK aims to build a community of legal practitioners, academics and clinicians, who are committed to sharing research, information, best practice and collaborating to promote wellness throughout legal education and continuing professional development in practice.
To find out more about the work of Wellness for Law UK, click here.