The mental health of lawyers worldwide is a cause for concern, according to a survey by the International Bar Association (IBA).

The IBA found that lawyers’ wellbeing was below the global average for the general population, using data based on the World Health Organisation’s WHO-5 indexing methodology.

The report found that stigma was a major issue, with 41 per cent of respondents saying that they could not discuss wellbeing issues with their employer without worrying that it would damage their career or livelihoods

And although employers may think that wellbeing is a priority, this is not reflected in the experiences of their staff. Most employees think their employers need to do more in this area, including 75 per cent of respondents aged between 25 and 35.

Around 3,000 people from more than 180 law firms worldwide took part in the survey.

IBA Immediate Past President Horacio Bernardes Neto, said: “When I became president of the IBA in 2019, I made addressing mental wellbeing within the legal profession one of my main priorities. I had become increasingly concerned with all too frequent reports of substance abuse, severe depression and suicide within the profession. Little did I, or any of us, know of the events that were to come. The devastating effects of depression, stress, addiction and other such attacks on our wellbeing may have preceded the Coronavirus pandemic, but there is no question that it has exacerbated their impact."