Today is World Mental Health Day. The very fact that LawCare has seen a 24% increase in the number of legal professionals contacting it for support so far this year, shows that employers need “to do more to create mentally healthy workplaces”.
Also, people in the workplace are now more subject to the issues that lead to mental disturbance.
News across says that the mental health charity has highlighted the figure for the first eight months of this year, 2023 to mark World Mental Health Day today. It also engages in the launch of new guidance for employers on protecting mental health in legal workplaces. This framework has to transcend legal workplaces as well.
In a release statement, it said: “Legal professionals are overwhelmed and stressed, and these mental health concerns can be exacerbated or caused by the work environment.”
The statement continues to highlight the tough times everyone is going through these days.
“These are tough times for legal professionals adjusting to a post-pandemic world, against a backdrop of global financial crisis, with heavy workloads, unrealistic targets and a workplace culture where there is still stigma about being open and honest about your mental health.
Of course, the increased demand for support from LawCare reflects the increasing pressures of day-to-day life in the law employment environment and the lack of protection of mental health in the legal workplace.
LawCare also released a statement that people have the right to have their mental health protected in the legal workplace.
The guidance encourages employers to reduce the risks legal professionals face to their mental health at work. These risks are referred to as ‘psychosocial risks’. Employers should not wait for it to happen.
LawCare chief executive Elizabeth Rimmer said that it will be better for employers not to wait till crisis occurs and then they scramble for ways to tackle the problem. The problems should be anticipated and dealt with even before they occur.
“Workplaces need to move from a support-based approach to mental health to a risk-based approach. The legal workplace is characterised by inherent psychosocial risks to mental health – working long hours, poor work life balance, meeting the expectations of demanding clients, heavy caseloads, the pressure of deadlines and billing targets, whilst maintaining high standards of ethical and professional conduct,” she claims.
She added that employers need to accept the fact that there are risks to mental health in the accepted working practices in law and take steps to mitigate, modify or remove these risks. The should focus on how the workplace can protect the mental health of their people, not undermine it.