Depression is a serious issue affecting the legal profession. While solicitors and barristers carry out vitally important work on a daily basis, sometimes the pressures and stresses associated with that work can have a negative effect on a person's mental wellbeing.
Depression affects more than 80,000 Australians each year. During their lifetime, one in five individuals will be affected by the illness. And for those who make up the legal profession in Australia, the statistics are even more harrowing. Findings from the 2007 Beaton Consulting and beyondblue national depression initiative revealed the incidence of depressive symptoms amongst lawyers and law students had reached alarming levels. When compared to other professions, lawyers experienced the highest incidence of depressive symptoms. Respondents from law firms were also the most likely to use alcohol or other drugs to reduce or manage their symptomatology.
The Law Council of Australia's mental health and wellbeing portal is a new initiative designed to provide a centralised source of information about mental health for the legal profession. It highlights the range of resources and assistance services currently available through the Law Council's constituent bodies and highlights a range of other initiatives being undertaken in this area.