New research into male mental health in legal profession

updated on 22 November 2022

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LawCare recently published its findings relating to male mental health within the legal profession. The legal mental health charity released the findings of its all-male focus group which took place on 19 July 2022 in a bid to better understand the needs of men in law and the mental health support they need in the workplace.  

The focus group was composed of a diverse range of barristers, partners, mid-level and junior associates, in-house lawyers and those in support roles from across a range of jurisdictions. In total eight men attended the virtual focus group through Zoom. Its aim was to better understand: 

  • the mental health experiences of men working in the legal profession;  

  • the barriers to seeking support; and  

  • what needs to change to support men in speaking out and seeking help. 

Despite an increased awareness and understanding of mental wellbeing in legal workspaces, particularly since the pandemic, there remain significant barriers to men seeking support. During the focus group participants were asked to share their experiences with mental health and consider what might have caused any difficulties. 

Nick Bloy, author of the LawCare report and founder of Wellbeing Republic, said: “Men feel a palpable expectation that they should be strong, not display vulnerability, and be able to shoulder the burden of personal problems themselves without recourse to others. Working as a lawyer adds additional pressure to this sense of needing to appear perfect to the outside world. Generally, men often don’t have the emotional vocabulary to understand or express their experiences effectively and a lack of male role models in positions of responsibility in law, adds to that pressure to remain stoic.” 

The charity, which offers free, confidential, emotional support to anyone working in the law including support staff and law students, has undertaken this research following an analysis of its support contacts last year, of which only 35% were men.  

LawCare’s Chief Executive Elizabeth Rimmer said: “The recommendations of this report make it clear that there needs to be a joined up and concerted effort across the profession to challenge the stigma that prevents men from speaking up about their mental health and seeking support.” 

Read more about mental health and the legal profession in this Feature