Lawyers are typically high achievers, yet a tendency for perfectionism for many comes at the cost of their own wellbeing.
In 2021, the International Bar Association published ‘Mental wellbeing in the legal profession: a global study’, which collated the survey responses of more than 3000 legal professionals globally. The report found 41 per cent of respondents did not want to discuss mental health concerns with their employer “for fear it might have a negative impact on their career” and one in three respondents indicating their job has “a negative or extremely negative impact” on their wellbeing.
Research conducted in October 2021 by the Australian College Of Applied Professions’ Nationally Representative Survey of Australian Workers found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of survey participants working in law said they would hide a mental or physical health condition from work to avoid being judged or discriminated against, compared to just over half (53 per cent) of all industries.
Increasingly, the importance of supporting solicitors experiencing mental health difficulty and boosting wellbeing in the workplace has become paramount.
The Law Society of NSW introduced the Solicitor Outreach Service [SOS] in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold across the world and many people struggled with fear and isolation.
Solicitors struggling with their mental health can access up to three psychological sessions per financial year as part of the mental health and wellbeing program.
SOS connects NSW solicitors to confidential psychological support. By calling 1800 592 296 you can access: up to three psychological sessions per financial year, paid for by the Law Society of NSW and 24/7 telephone counselling with a psychologist if you are in crisis or distress. The SOS hotline will be operational around the clock, 365 days a year.
While an initiative of the Law Society of NSW, SOS is delivered by third party provider, PeopleSense by Altius. Below are some commonly asked questions about the service.
Is it confidential?
Yes, SOS is entirely confidential. No information will be provided to the Law Society of NSW which could identify solicitors accessing SOS. For further details regarding privacy and confidentiality, visit here.
When is a good time to seek help?
If you need support, are struggling to carry out day-to-day activities or have experienced difficulties coping for two weeks or more, consider seeking professional support.
Can I only access this service for work-related issues?
No. Solicitors may access SOS for any concern or difficulty they might be experiencing, be it personal or professional.