Legal mental health and wellbeing charity LawCare and academics at the University of Sheffield and The Open University have launched a free, online resource for legal professionals in hopes of teaching better wellbeing practices in the sector.
The resource includes videos from legal professionals discussing wellbeing issues as well as a range of activities teaching emotional self-awareness and regulation.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said that lawyers often find it difficult to “admit they are struggling with the pressures of work” which can lead to them only seeking help when they are nearing crisis.
She added: "Providing legal professionals with resources to enable them to understand and develop key emotional competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self-reflection and better strategies for emotional self-regulation will equip them more effectively for practice, enhance their wellbeing and potentially reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.”
Dr Emma Jones, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sheffield said: “The course […] focuses on ‘Managing and Understanding Yourself’ and offers legal professionals practical tips, based on sound evidence, to assist them in developing healthier working practices to enhance their wellbeing.”
The course, which takes two to four hours in total to complete, was developed based on evidence from focus groups with legal professionals across the UK and Ireland.
In a 2019 Resilience and Wellbeing survey, the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division reported that half (48%) of respondents stated that they had experienced mental ill-health (whether formally diagnosed or not) in the last month.
The same 2019 study found that 1 in 15 junior lawyers surveyed (6.4%) had experienced suicidal thoughts in the month leading up to taking the survey and 38% of respondents did not know of any organisations that were there to help if they wanted to discuss stress or mental ill-health at work.
The Fit for Law resources are available to everyone studying law or working in the legal profession in the UK and Ireland and could be used as CPD in some jurisdictions. For more information visit www.fitforlaw.org.uk