In the lead up to R U OK? day, a lot is being said about wellbeing and the prevalence of mental health issues among lawyers.
After all, the stats tell us that lawyers are four times more likely to experience depression than other professions.
We know that lawyers work long hours, in an adversarial environment where expectation is high. We know that lawyers are trained to focus on the negatives and look for the issues, which can make it difficult to see the positives. And we know that firms should be doing more to minimise burnout, stress, isolation and anxiety.
We also know that lawyers are often perfectionists who worry about the stigma attached to asking for help and being seen to not cope.
So today, we’re taking the opportunity to suggest that you turn to the colleague beside you and meaningfully ask them:
Are you OK?
If you can see that they are perhaps struggling with their workload, or seem exhausted and stressed, reach out to them and offer your help. Connection is a powerful way to help someone experiencing mental health issues share how they are.
And if you are struggling, then reaching out to a friend, family member or trusted colleague to talk about what you’re experiencing or to ask for help with coping strategies could make all the difference. You could also call one of the helplines below.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467