New mental health support service for NSW solicitors
NSW solicitors will have access to up to three sessions with a qualified psychologist each year at no cost to them, as part of a new suite of tailored mental health and wellbeing support services launched today by the Law Society of NSW.
The Law Society’s new Solicitor Outreach Service (SOS) is part of the peak body’s ongoing efforts to support the mental health and wellbeing of the state’s 35,000 solicitors during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
NSW solicitors in acute crisis or distress will also be able to access psychological support via the new SOS hotline - 1800 592 296 – which will be operational around the clock, 365 days a year.
The Law Society’s new SOS will include:
- Up to three one-on-one psychological sessions each year, at no cost to NSW solicitors
- Immediate telephone counselling with a psychologist for NSW solicitors in acute crisis or distress
- Service delivered by Medicare-registered psychologists so solicitors who are eligible for Medicare subsided sessions may be able to continue treatment with their psychologist beyond the SOS.
President of the Law Society of NSW, Richard Harvey, said the launch of the new SOS comes at a time when many in the legal profession are dealing with the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we well know, the legal profession is far from immune from having its own susceptibility to mental health distress,” Mr Harvey said.
“It’s possible that some members of the legal profession will be at heightened risk due to the unpredictability about the scale, duration and impact of COVID-19, along with other factors such as the challenges of working remotely, lack of regular exercise and restricted social engagement.
“I believe we’ve made enormous strides in removing the stigma around mental health in recent years and this new service is another way we can support solicitors to seek help when they need it.
“While many large law firms and organisations provide support through their Employee Assistance Programs, there are solicitors in smaller practices, especially in regional areas, who don’t have access to this support.
“The Law Society is committed to providing best practice and relevant mental health and support services to all NSW solicitors,” Mr Harvey said.
The Law Society of NSW has engaged third-party provider PeopleSense by Altius to provide the confidential psychological service to NSW solicitors.
Solicitors can visit the Law Society website to find out more about the full range of mental health and wellbeing support services.
Mr Harvey urged any solicitors who require support, are struggling to carry out day to day activities or have had difficulties coping for two or more weeks, to seek professional support.
The Law Society is making this easier with the new Solicitor Outreach Service which can be accessed on 1800 592 296.
Common reasons why people seek help from a psychologist include:
- Anxiety and worry
- Low mood, sadness and depression
- Trauma and vicarious trauma
- Stress management
- Conflict at home or at work
- Bullying and harassment in the workplace
- Alcohol and drug use
- Relationship issues.
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Sue Finn | Media and Public Relations Manager
The Law Society of New South Wales
T: +61 2 9926 0288 | M: +61 413 440 699 | E: email@example.com