One in 15 junior solicitors is suicidal, research finds

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By Thomas Connelly on

Rise in rookies experiencing mental ill-health

Over 6% of junior lawyers have experienced suicidal thoughts within the past month, new research has revealed.

The survey, part of the Junior Lawyers Division’s (JLD) ‘Resilience and Wellbeing Survey Report’, found that almost half of respondents (48%) experienced mental ill-health, whether formally diagnosed or not, within the last month — up from 38% on the year before. However, just 19% of junior solicitors who said they were struggling with mental ill-health had reported it to their employer.

Elsewhere, 93.5% of the 1,803 respondents had experienced work-related stress within the last month, with almost a quarter describing the level as “severe/extreme”.

One-fifth (19%) of respondents admitted to regularly feeling unable to cope, while 33% reported ‘occasionally’ feeling unable to cope within the past month. Breaking the results down by gender, 21% of women said they regularly felt unable to cope as a result of stress, compared to 13% of men.

The top triggers for stress cited by respondents were high-workloads and client demands, although the report notes that the proportion of junior lawyers giving these responses is down on 2018 figures.

The most commonly cited experiences of work-related stress were disrupted sleep and negative impact on mental health including anxiety, emotional upset and fatigue. Worryingly, more than 100 junior lawyers (6.4%) admitted experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Over three-quarters (78%) of respondents believed their employer could be doing more to support their wellbeing, while 38% did not know of any organisations that were there to help if they wanted to discuss stress or mental ill-health at work.

Struggling with stress? You can contact LawCare by calling 0800 279 6888 in the UK or 1800 991 801 in Ireland.

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