In the fast-paced world of the legal profession, mental health has often been overshadowed by demanding billable targets and the relentless stress of city firms, leading many lawyers to experience forms of anxiety and burnout.

Shockingly, a recent survey revealed that lawyers rank as the second most stressed profession in the country, with a staggering 63% reporting stress daily.

A report from 2022 further highlighted that a staggering 86% of solicitors extend their work beyond the typical 8-hour day, with 11% frequently working past 10 pm.

Recognising these challenges, it's imperative for law firms to provide support systems for their legal professionals.

As it is Mental Health Week, what better time to explore how law firms can foster a supportive environment for mental health.

Fostering a Supportive Environment for Mental Health

Promote Open Communication

Encouraging an open dialogue surrounding mental health is paramount to creating a healthy workplace culture.

By normalising discussions about mental health and providing platforms like the Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) initiative and anonymous staff feedback mechanisms, firms can ensure that employees feel supported and understood.

Offer Training and Education

Firm-wide training on mental health issues can significantly raise awareness and equip staff with the knowledge to recognise symptoms and take proactive steps to address them.

Education empowers individuals to prioritise their mental well-being and seek appropriate support when needed.

Offer Flexible Working Arrangements

The shift towards hybrid and remote working models, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has highlighted the importance of flexibility in maintaining work-life balance.

According to the Law Society, 75% of firms have implemented remote working policies, with 84% of respondents believing that the policy has been successful for the firm.

By offering flexible working arrangements, firms can accommodate the diverse needs of their employees and mitigate the risk of burnout.

Wellness Programmes and Resources

Incorporating wellness programmes into the firm's culture can have a profound impact on employees' mental health and overall well-being.

From yoga and mindfulness sessions to social events and group fitness classes, these initiatives promote stress relief, team bonding, and a sense of community.

As the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week emphasises movement for mental health, physical activities like outdoor adventures can further enhance physical and mental well-being.

Wellness challenges and incentive programmes incentivise employees to prioritise their health, resulting in a happier, more engaged, and more productive workforce.

Lead by Example

Senior leadership sets the tone for the firm's culture.

By openly discussing the importance of mental health, demonstrating vulnerability in sharing their own struggles, and prioritising self-care, leaders can inspire a culture of support and well-being throughout the organisation.

Importance of self-care in the workplace

Prioritising mental health and self-care within law firms is not just a moral imperative but also essential for maintaining a healthy and sustainable workforce.

By implementing these proactive measures and fostering a supportive environment, law firms can better support their legal professionals and create a workplace where mental health is valued and prioritised.

At Myerson, mental health is taken very seriously and offering support surrounding these issues is key part of our firm’s culture. With no annual billable targets, a great work life balance and an MHFA qualified People and Culture Team, we view staff wellbeing as a crucial part of a good legal practice.

We offer several staff benefits with mental health in mind, such as a subsidised gym membership, a work from home allowance and private healthcare. It’s this level of concern for staff welfare that has rated Myerson as the 3rd Best Law Firm to work for in 2023 by Best Companies.

"At the heart of Myerson's culture is a commitment to mental health awareness and support. We empower our employees to prioritise self-care and seek help when needed, because their well-being is our top priority. We are grateful to have received recognition for that in our reputation as a great place to work." – Jordanna Reynolds, People and Culture Director.

For further information surrounding mental health in the legal profession, please see the advice and resources available at https://www.lawcare.org.uk/.