On World Mental Health Day 2019: Legal mental health charity LawCare has launched a new advocacy scheme ‘LawCare Champions’; the Law Society of England and Wales has released updated best practice guidance; DLA Piper’s Employment group has published a report on key actions employers can take; and 17 more organisations will sign the pledge to join the 21 organisations that are already implementing the Mindful Business Charter. See the link below for how to load your own initiatives.

Legal mental health charity LawCare has launched a new advocacy scheme ‘LawCare Champions’ that aims to appoint legal professionals in the UK to act as mental health and wellbeing advocates within the legal community, to coincide with World Mental Health Day 2019 today (10 October).

Fourteen champions, including David McCahon, global head of commercial, innovation and technology legal & wellbeing leader at Barclays, have been appointed, with more to follow next year.

Elizabeth Rimmer, chief executive of LawCare said: “We are very proud to launch this new scheme on World Mental Health Day. This is a cross-jurisdiction, cross-profession initiative and our new champions have all been carefully chosen for their commitment, passion and enthusiasm in raising awareness about the importance of good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community. We hope our champions will help us to drive positive change in the culture of law. The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention, and we must all come together in the legal community to improve dialogue on mental health issues.”

The charity has also launched a new animated video highlighting the support they offer – available to view at www.lawcare.org.uk

The full list of champions are:
Andrea Brewster OBE, Lead Executive Officer, IP inclusive
Samantha Brown, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills
Joanna Fleck, Co-founder Claiming Space
Clare Good, Solicitor, Capital Law and Wellbeing Officer, Cardiff Law Society
Catherine Hart, Partner and Professional Support Lawyer, Digby Brown
Jodie Hill, Managing Director, Thrive Law
Karen Jackson, Solicitor and Managing Director, didlaw
Charles Jacobs, Senior Partner and Chairman, Linklaters
David McCahon, Global Head of Commercial, Innovation and Technology Legal & Wellbeing Leader at Barclays
James Pereira QC, Barrister and Coach
Nick O’Neill, Governance and Practice Manager, Wirral Borough Council
Lloyd Rees, Knowledge Lawyer, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Anna Robinson, Senior Solicitor and Psychotherapist
Joanne Theodolou, General Counsel at Simply Business and Trustee of Mind, the mental health

Reducing the stigma around mental health is vital to employee wellbeing, the Law Society of England and Wales said as it released updated best practice guidance for World Mental Health Day today.

The theme for World Mental Health day is suicide prevention and with one in 15 respondents of the 2019 junior lawyers survey stating that they had experienced suicidal thoughts, this guidance is timely for the legal profession. But while the guidance is specifically said to be for solicitors, we’d argue that the Law Society should have the wellbeing of all law firm staff in their sights.

The guidance has been designed as a resource to help organisations “maximise their talent and provides best practice to support the wellbeing of its employees.”

Law Society president Simon Davis said: “The rewards of a legal career are many, but findings from the Junior Lawyers’ Resilience and Wellbeing Survey found that 93% of solicitor respondents reported feeling stressed and around half of respondents said that they had experienced mental ill health (whether formally diagnosed or not) in the month before completing the survey.

“It is important for us to use our research to create resources that will help us to meet our member’s needs.

“Supporting Wellbeing in the Workplace is an invaluable tool that will equip individuals and organisations with best practice on how to support the mental health of our members.”

The updated guidance makes recommendations for small, medium and large firms and features case studies from firms Pinsent Masons, Farrer & Co, Macfarlanes, Freeths, Giles Wilson and Thrive Law.

The report is available from the Law Society website: Supporting wellbeing in the workplace: guidance for best practice.

Elsewhere, DLA Piper’s Employment group has published its report Mental Health Matters: Managing Wellbeing in UK Workplaces.

In the report, DLA reviews the impact of mental illness in the workplace and suggests key actions employers should take. Our aim is to help employers strike the right balance using a proactive approach and to provide some tips on handling difficult scenarios where there is a negative impact in the workplace.

To download a copy of the full report click this link: https://inform.dlapiper.com/10/3014/landing-pages/rsvp-blank.asp

And one year since the launch of the Mindful Business Charter (MBC), Pinsent Masons says that 17 more organisations are adopting the charter’s pledge to change avoidable working practices that can affect mental health and wellbeing. https://www.pinsentmasons.com/about-us/announcements/more-mindful-business-charter-signings-on-world-mental-health-day

Alongside Barclays and Addleshaw Goddard, Pinsent Masons developed the ground-breaking initiative which initially saw financial services businesses and law firms collaborate to follow a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks.

Today, 17 more organisations will sign the pledge to join the 21 organisations that are already implementing the Mindful Business Charter. All of these organisations make a commitment to promote a culture of openness about mental wellbeing, ensure responsible business is included as an area of assessment during significant procurement processes and drive forward the actions and necessary change in support of the principles of the Charter and which thereby seek to eradicate unnecessary causes of workplace stress and pressure.

Richard Foley, senior partner of Pinsent Masons said: “For too long professionals across many industries have just accepted pressure and stress as part and parcel of the job. The Charter challenges that.

“Those signed up to the Charter are making real strides in changing attitudes and in reducing the avoidable working practices that can negatively impact the health and wellbeing of our communities.

“It is really important that we have developed our own methodology for embedding the Charter in our business. We did so at the request of our partners who wanted to take the principles of the Charter and map out what that meant for the everyday – the way we work with one another and with our clients. Set under four headings it sets out what good looks like around Openness and Respect, Respecting Rest Periods, Smart Meetings and Emails and Mindful Delegation.”

You can load your own updates and initiatives here: https://www.legaltechnology.com/category/legal-it-newswire/