The Bar Council and Law Society are among 15 partners pledged to support a cross-profession taskforce to promote mental health and wellbeing.
The intiative has been driven by charity LawCare, which released figures showing that it received calls from almost 500 lawyers in 2015. The most common issues were stress (30%), depression (20%) and disciplinary issues (12%).
The statistics came a year after the Wellbeing at the Bar report revealed high levels of stress, with one in eight barristers being emotionally exhausted and half unable to sleep properly.
Since its publication, the Bar has made major steps to support barristers’ wellbeing, with the creation of the Wellbeing Working Group, and initiatives from the Specialist Bar Associations, Circuits, and the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks.
The Bar Council and Inns of Court have started work on an online web portal to support wellbeing, which is expected to launch this summer.
Individual chambers have set up wellbeing committees and policies, and Middle Temple launched mindfulness drop-in sessions.
Speaking ahead of last months’ Mental Health Awareness Week, Bar Chairman Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said the ‘landscape has changed’ and wellbeing is now ‘high on the agenda’ at the Bar.
She said that ‘building a suite of wellbeing support’ for the Bar is a ‘work in progress’ that would never be ‘done and dusted’ but which she expected to continue.