Dozens of lawyers have sought specialist help with their mental health since the lockdown began eight weeks ago, new figures have revealed.
Legal Mental health charity LawCare said today that 48 legal professional have contacted it since 10 March, making up 37% of all contacts to the support service in that time.
The most common issues people have reported relating to coronavirus have been not being allowed to work from home, financial issues due to furloughing or pay cuts, and worsening of existing mental health conditions. People calling the support service have also reported relationship strain, childcare issues and being asked to work whilst on furlough.
The figures were released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, which begins today, and LawCare believes many more people could be in need of help and support.
Chief Executive Elizabeth Rimmer said: ‘We feel this is very much the tip of the iceberg and anticipate in the coming weeks more and more legal professionals will contact us as the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic begins to really hit home.
’We would like to remind all legal professionals, including support staff, they can contact us for free, in confidence, to discuss anything that is bothering them. Talking through your problems with one of our trained staff and volunteers, who have all worked in the law themselves, can really help.’
The charity has developed a Covid-19 hub with specific information and resources at its website, while there is also help through email, webchat and a peer support service. This week, LawCare is asking legal professionals to share moments in their legal career when someone has shown them kindness, with people encouraged to use the hashtag #momentofkindness and tag @LawCare on Twitter, or LawCare on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Meanwhile, a survey of 1,000 people at the start of this month, from professional recruitment firm Walters People, suggests that lawyers who rent shared accommodation are suffering the greatest strain during this period of lockdown.
Researchers found less than a fifth (18%) of people in shared housing were satisfied with home working arrangements, and just 6% said productivity had increased. A third in shared accommodation said remote working had negatively impacted their mental health, with a quarter of professionals reporting space to be so limited that they had to work from their beds.
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.