Reports of mental health issues ‘tip of the iceberg’
Legal mental health charity LawCare has released data on all COVID-19 related contacts it has received to date for Mental Health Awareness Week.
Forty-eight legal professionals have contacted the charity with issues related to COVID-19 since 10 March, making up over a third (37 per cent) of all contacts to their support service.
The top three issues concerning legal professionals are not being permitted to work from home, financial issues due to furlough/pay cuts or lack of work, and worsening of existing mental health conditions. Other problems have included relationship strain, childcare issues and being asked to work whilst on furlough.
LawCare chief executive Elizabeth Rimmer said: “We feel this is very much the tip of the iceberg and anticipate in the coming weeks more and more legal professionals will contact us as the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic begins to really hit home.
“We would like to remind all legal professionals, including support staff, they can contact us for free, in confidence, to discuss anything that is bothering them. Talking through your problems with one of our trained staff and volunteers, who have all worked in the law themselves, can really help.”
The figures come as lawyers are being urged this week to share moments of kindness which have been shown to them in their career by using #momentofkindness and tagging @LawCareLtd on Twitter, or LawCare on Facebook and Linkedin.
“Civility is contagious, and more kindness in the law will make the profession a happier and healthier place to work,” said Trish McLellan, LawCare’s co-ordinator for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Richard Pugh, Clerk of the Faculty of Advocates, added: “The last few weeks have provided a stark illustration of the challenges which we face to maintain good mental health. They have also shown us that having support structures to maintain our wellbeing is vital.
“Mental Health Awareness Week provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect and to take steps to help both ourselves and each other through the current situation and beyond. We are thankful that LawCare is always on hand to help us in that challenge.”
In response to the pandemic, LawCare has developed a COVID-19 hub full of information and resources at www.lawcare.org.uk, where you can also access emotional support via email, webchat and LawCare’s peer support service. The helpline number is 0800 279 6888 (1800 991 801 in Ireland).