Mental Health Awareness Week 2016
With people as its primary asset, wellbeing is fundamental to the competitiveness of the solicitor profession. A healthy, engaged and resilient profession is more productive, efficient and sustainable and better placed to attract and retain the best talent in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Research conducted by income protection firm Unum, shows that employees in the legal sector are among the least satisfied with current levels of wellbeing: 41 per cent felt only adequately or poorly looked after by their employer, compared to just 29 per cent in the accountancy sector and 27 per cent in the media sector.
It is important that both firms and individuals are able to spot the signs of ill mental health and know how to support and manage symptoms.
Each year the Law Society marks Mental Health Awareness Week. Last year we hosted an extremely popular event centred on mindfulness which included a workshop and panel event.
This year, rather than hold an event, we are profiling three brave solicitors who have suffered with ill mental health but have found a way through.
Through these profiles, we learn the following:
- how their work-life balance impacted on their mental health
- the treatment they received
- the support from their employers over this period
- changes they made in their work environment in order to promote their wellbeing
- advice they might give to others who feel their wellbeing/mental health is suffering
- advice they might give to employers to better support their staff.
Despite having no history of mental health difficulties, I became anxious and depressed and stopped sleeping. I was adamant that I had to carry on working a 50-hour week, believing that the moment I showed any sign of weakness, my legal career would come to a halt.
Read Angus' story
I was diagnosed with depression in January 2012 and signed off work. My sick leave lasted 7 months in total before I began a phased return to work.
Read Lauren's story
As many people have said subsequently, I was the last person anyone would have thought was going to have problems. Then, in May 2011, I suffered a breakdown.
Read Martin's story