The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) recently conducted (2019) their third Resilience and Wellbeing survey.
The responses make for salutary reading. It reports that newly qualified lawyers can find the transition from being a trainee a tricky process: the move from relative shelter to the stress of billable targets.
It reports that 1,803 members of the JLD completed this year’s survey (an increase from the previous two years) Around half the respondents reported mental ill -health, with a higher proportion belong women (50.2%) Stress was a key factor, due to regularly feeling unable to cope, was cited by 19% of respondents with a higher proportion of that number being women. In addition, those working in small firms (1-4 employees) were more likely to feel stressed. Over half the respondents reported the stress levels to be moderate.
Consequences for respondents of stress levels included disrupted sleep, anxiety, fatigue depression and thoughts of self-harm. Strategies to help over come these issues included exercise, mediation/mindfulness.
Around one-fifth of respondents indicated that their employer was aware of them experiencing mental ill-health difficulties and around a half worked for organisations who offered help, guidance and support. In comparison 38% of respondents indicated they were not aware of any organisation that would provide support and advice on stress or mental ill-health at work. Many respondents commented on the need for employers to address the root cause of work- related stress.
Lawyers and Patent attorneys tend to report similar causes of stress and a difficulty in sharing it with employers. One of the objectives of Jonathan’s Voice is to empower individuals to speak openly about mental health issues and for employers to create the ethos and the structures in an organization so this can happen. Progress is being made but It’s clear from this survey that there is a long way to go. Based on the results of this survey, there needs to be clear signposting to organizations that could provide support.
The Lawcare helpline 0800 279 6888 can be accessed by lawyers and patent attorneys
Free, independent and confidential
Monday – Friday 9am–7.30pm, weekends & bank holidays 10am–4pm