Mental health and wellbeing
Working as a solicitor offers many rewards but can also be very challenging. The Law Society of New South Wales aims to alleviate these challenges, particularly in the areas of mental health and wellbeing.
The following resources can help solicitors easily find the information they need to overcome both their own personal difficulties as well as those faced by their clients.
Mental health organisations
beyondblue is the national depression initiative, providing comprehensive online information on the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety and how to help someone. You can also ring their info line on 1300 22 4636 for the cost of a local call.
The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering specialist expertise in depression and bipolar disorder. Their website features a host of resources and links, up-to-date research and information on community programs and getting help.
Support for solicitors
Lifeline for Lawyers
The Law Society of New South Wales has engaged the services of Lifeline to provide members with an additional support service for both personal and work related issues. Lifeline for Lawyers offers members access to a confidential 24-hour telephone Crisis Support service for individuals experiencing emotional and psychological distress.
Lifeline for Lawyers can be accessed by calling 1800 085 062 or online, every night from 8pm - 4am (AEST), at www.lifeline.org.au/crisischat. Lifeline for Lawyers is provided free of charge to members of The Law Society of New South Wales. Read more about Lifeline for Lawyers.
Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)
The Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) is a free and confidential practice advice service for solicitors experiencing practice management issues. By contacting LAP you initially speak in confidence with a trained coordinator, who is also an experienced solicitor.
In addition to offering a sympathetic, yet impartial ear, the coordinator may also point you in the direction of suitable counsellors, agencies or schemes such as LawCare for further assistance. To speak with the LAP coordinator call 1800 777 662.
LawCare is a professional and confidential counselling service for solicitors and their immediate family members. Counsellors available through LawCare are practising GPs experienced in dealing with the unique difficulties faced by professionals.
Initial assessment and referrals by phone are free of charge. Costs will only be incurred for face-to-face consultations and much of this can be claimed back through Medicare or private health cover for clinically relevant medical conditions. Call 0416 200 788 to speak to a counsellor at LawCare.
Professional Conduct Advisory Panel
The Professional Conduct Advisory Panel provides support to solicitors who are subject to disciplinary proceedings including complaints, show cause events and trust accounting issues. The assistance is confidential and independent of the regulatory authorities.
Solicitors Benevolent Association
The Solicitors Benevolent Association can assist in relieving financial distress suffered by a solicitor or former solicitor, their immediate family or any surviving spouse or dependant. Visit the Solicitors Benevolent Association page for more information.
Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation
The Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation is an independent organisation that aims to decrease distress, disability and the causes of depression and anxiety in the legal profession. Visit the Foundations' website for more information.
The Law Society of New South Wales Journal has published a number of articles on stress and wellbeing issues. To access these (you will be prompted to log in as a member or subscriber), conduct an Advanced Search on the Journal Archive, using Search terms such as 'stress', 'lawcare', 'lawyers assistance program', 'depression', 'ian chung'.