Lockdown issues trigger rise in calls to lawyer wellbeing helpline

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By Thomas Connelly on

Stress and anxiety among top concerns, LawCare stats show

The number of lawyers reaching out to a legal mental health charity has risen again this year, with stress and anxiety among the top concerns. LawCare said it received 964 calls, web-chats and emails to their free support hub in 2020 — a rise of 9% on the previous year.

Almost a quarter of contacts (23%) cited stress as their top concern, while 15% said they were struggling with anxiety — up sharply from 45 people in 2019 to 111 last year. A further 10% raised issues with depression and 10% flagged worries about their career development.

Women accounted for 69% of all contacts and half were trainees/pupils or had been qualified less than five years. Six percent were law students.

The charity also revealed that from March 2020, over a third (34%) of contacts concerned the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

Thirteen percent cited a worsening in their existing mental health issues; 12% said they were not being permitted to work from home (WFH); and 11% were struggling to adapt to WFH due to poor supervision, procedures, or provision of equipment. A further 11% said they felt isolated and 9% were being overloaded with work as a result of colleagues being furloughed.

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Other issues raised included childcare, relationship strain, redundancy or inability to find a job, and financial concerns. The charity also heard from legal professionals being asked to work while furloughed.

Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said:

“Our support service continues to grow and help more people year on year. 2020 was a challenging year for most, we are not surprised that anxiety increased at a time of great worry and uncertainty. In addition our website traffic increased by 50% and we allocated more peer supporters and funded more counselling sessions last year than ever before. We expect demand to continue to grow in 2021 as legal professionals continue to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19.”

Feeling stressed or anxious? Contact LawCare.

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