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Scottish Legal Profession Tackles Mental Health Issues

22 June 2016 | tagged News release

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A new collaborative initiative to promote and support mental health and wellbeing in the Scottish legal community launches this week.

Legal Wellbeing Scotland is spearheaded by the Law Society of Scotland and driven by LawCare, a charity which provides support to the legal community. The initiative brings together representatives from a range of legal professional and educational establishments.

“Law can be very demanding, and we know that one in five solicitors will experience a mental health issue at least once in their career,” explains Eilidh Wiseman, President of the Law Society of Scotland.

“The goal of Legal Wellbeing Scotland is to promote improved mental health and wellbeing in the Scottish legal profession, by raising awareness and providing best practice solutions.

“This initiative provides a welcome opportunity to work collaboratively with experts from across the legal sector, as well as encourage individual organisations to explore what they can do within their own establishments.”

Nineteen partners have joined the group: the Law Society of Scotland, LawCare, Scottish Young Lawyers Association, Trainee and Newly Qualified Society Scotland, Society of Law Accountants in Scotland, Scottish Paralegal Association, Burness Paull, Pinsent Masons, Adams Law Blairgowrie, Grieve Grierson Moodie & Walker, FDA Procurators Fiscal section, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Midlothian Council, Edinburgh University Counselling Services, Faculty of Advocates, Jack Grant & Co, Hamilton Ross Solicitors, Brodies Solicitors, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Trish McLellan, Coordinator for Scotland and Northern Ireland, LawCare says: “LawCare has identified that there is very low awareness of the support and services available to those in the legal community, and that there is stigma attached to acknowledging mental health issues. There is also a lack of knowledge in the community itself about good practice in supporting people with mental health issues and what that looks like.”

Legal Wellbeing Scotland will bring representatives together to identify areas where collaboration will be beneficial; identify mechanisms for establishing and sharing best practice; identify how to improve the perception of mental health and wellbeing; and address stigma as a barrier to accessing support.

“We also need to consider how those in need of support can find it and trust it but, overall, we’re keen to develop tangible actions and solutions,” concludes Ms McLellan.

For more information on Legal Wellbeing Scotland and its members, go to #legalwellbeingscot 

Notes to Editors:

LawCare is a charity which provides support to members of the legal professions in the UK and Ireland facing personal and profession problems. LawCare runs a completely confidential, free and independent Helpline 0800 279 6888 where the trained staff and volunteers have experience of working in the law.

LawCare raises awareness about the value of mental health and wellbeing in the legal community and the support available, working in partnership with regulatory and professional bodies. It also provides education on a range of topics related to wellbeing, and has a series of downloadable factsheets on the website,  @LawCareLtd

The Law Society of Scotland is the professional body for over 11,000 Scottish solicitors. It has an overarching objective of leading legal excellence, and strives to excel and to be a world-class professional body, understanding and serving the needs of its members and the public. The Law Society sets and upholds standards to ensure the provision of excellent legal services and ensure the public can have confidence in Scotland’s legal profession.

The Law Society has a statutory duty to work in the public interest, a duty which it is strongly committed to achieving through its work to promote a strong, varied and effective legal profession working in the interests of the public and protecting and promoting the rule of law. It seeks to influence the creation of a fairer and more just society through active engagement with the Scottish and United Kingdom governments, parliaments, wider stakeholders and its membership. @lawscot 

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