Scottish solicitors under pressure can seek support from Lawscot Wellbeing, launched today, Monday, 14 May.
The Law Society of Scotland has marked Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 with the launch of the web-based resource for those working in the legal sector.
Lawscot Wellbeing provides information, help and guidance through a dedicated online portal on the Law Society of Scotland’s website. It aims to:
- Equip legal professionals with information and signposting to help manage emotional wellbeing
- Provide access to support services and advice for solicitors, trainees and others within the Scottish legal sector who may be experiencing difficulties
- Help those responsible for people in firms, or their family and friends, to support those in difficulty or crisis
- Provide guidance to solicitors who are concerned about their client’s emotional wellbeing
- Challenge the stigma around mental ill health and champion best practice
Lawscot Wellbeing was launched by Eilidh Wiseman, former president of the Law Society of Scotland (2016-17), at law firm Burness Paull’s Edinburgh office.
The collaborative, profession-wide project, invites all law firms and other organisations to get involved to learn from and share best practice.
Peter Lawson, a partner at Burness Paull, highlighted some of the firm’s work to promote wellbeing in the workplace, while Kenny Robertson of RBS provided insight from an in-house counsel perspective. Mental health charity See Me, one of the partners for Lawscot Wellbeing, also attended the launch event to talk about the opportunity to work with legal employers for the first time and offer guidance about where improvements can be made.
Eilidh Wiseman said: “A legal career can be immensely rewarding but also very demanding at times. Many people are drawn to the intellectual challenge and thrive on the high pressure the work entails, but with this high pressure can come stress. We know that one in five solicitors experience a mental health issue at some stage in their career, so it’s crucial that we work to remove any stigma and discrimination and ensure that we can all seek the help we need, whether for ourselves, a colleague or a client.
“As the professional body for Scottish solicitors we want to support our members and others working in the legal sector throughout their careers and, most importantly, we want to make sure everyone knows that it’s okay to ask for help and that help is there if they need it.
“Lawscot Wellbeing will be a key resource for all of us working in the legal sector to provide information and guidance on the practical steps we can all take to help maintain good mental and emotional health. It will also direct people to available support services, such as those offered by Lawcare, and mental health charities like See Me Scotland and SAMH, during difficult periods in their lives.”
Peter Lawson, partner at Burness Paull said: “We fully support this initiative. There are always going to be difficult, stressful periods in people’s professional or personal lives and as a major employer within the legal sector, we believe it is important that people know that help is available for them during these critical times and they can seek support during any period of ill health, be it physical or mental. We have been working closely with See Me and I hope we can share what we have learned more widely with the profession through Lawscot Wellbeing.
Calum Irving, director of See Me, one of the partners for Lawscot Wellbeing, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the launch of Lawscot Wellbeing to support those working in the legal sector. Through our See Me in Work programme we aim to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination by working with employers to improve their policy and practice in the workplace.”