This year, Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) has a particularly poignant meaning given the problems that many are experiencing as a result of lockdown and from uncertainties surrounding their businesses and futures. This year, the theme of the week is kindness and how this can contribute to the mental wellbeing of everyone. As the Mental Health Foundation has said:
“if we take the time to be kind to other people, we can reap the emotional dividends. It can really make a difference and especially for people who are vulnerable or struggling.”
For more information see the Mental Health Awareness Week information on their website.
In the legal sector, LawCare,the organisation that supports the wellbeing of the legal community, has a busy week of activities including webinars, a social media campaign and a substantial amount of media coverage relating to COVID-19 statistics. Take a look at their website for events and all of their latest covid resources and news.
In addition to information specifically about Mental Health Awareness week LawCare have a range of general resources, including an article, social media images and new top tips for sleep. They are also encouraging people to share moments in their legal career when someone showed them kindness on social media during the week, using #momentofkindness and tagging then in those postings.
LawCare report that a substantial number of legal professionals have contacted the charity with issues related to COVID-19, making up over a third (37%) of all recent 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.
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.”
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).
LawCare is an independent charity offering emotional support, information and training to the legal community in the UK and Ireland. It works to promote good mental health and wellbeing in legal workplaces.
Lawcare help all branches of the legal profession: solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals, trade mark attorneys, patent attorneys, costs lawyers, and their staff and families.
Their support spans the legal life from student to training to practice and retirement.