The In-House Community is firmly supporting the International Bar Association (IBA) in its laudable and timely global initiative on mental wellbeing in the legal profession. We encourage all legal professionals to take part in the global survey they are conducting.
The issue of mental health for lawyers has become increasingly and positively addressed in the United Kingdom over the past several years and the former President of the Law Society of England & Wales, Christina Blacklaws, addressed this issue at some length in a published interview in Asian-mena Counsel (Volume 16, issue 3, 2018)
“I think things are changing on the issue of mental health and lawyers dramatically and quickly and for the positive. A few years ago, in the UK it would have not been something that most lawyers and people working in legal businesses would have been comfortable to have spoken to even their HR departments about. Today we have a lot of evidence to suggest that the majority of people in our profession are affected or have been affected by low level mental health problems such as stress and depression and that is something that is becoming normalized to the extent that it is OK to talk about these things and law firms and legal businesses are really responding to that. I think it is vital because so many people are affected and the law firms are to be applauded for their open and constructive response. I am not saying that we have got it finalized and that nothing more needs to be done – but I think that the direction of travel is very encouraging.” Christina Blacklaws, Consultant, Blacklaws Consulting Ltd., former President, Law Society of England & Wales.
However, as in so many other areas of human life, the Covid-19 pandemic exposes all our frailties and the importance of being mindful of mental health issues in “The New Dynamic” is crucial. According to recent public health research in the United States, the immediate consequences of a pandemic are Hubris, Isolation and Loneliness. According to the former Surgeon General of America Vivek Murthy the cure for Loneliness is serving others. The In-House Community and the IBA exist to serve their various members and we are proud to be able to help the IBA in firstly garnering relevant data regarding mental health and then creating initiatives to help the legal profession in this vital area of general health and wellbeing.
Note: The above survey is being conducted by the IBA. The In-House Community is not involved in the survey process.