Lawyers show mental health matters as much as business - Lawyers Weekly

Growing awareness for mental health research and support services is a leading priority in the Australian Legal Industry.

McDonald Murholme Principal, Andrew Jewell, has witnessed first-hand the prevalence of stress and anxiety among his clients and is leading change to further research.

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Lawyers show mental health matters as much as business

Raising awareness and funds for mental health research and support services is a growing priority for a number of Australian law firms.

Law firms are adopting a range of different initiatives to show their support for important research into mental health and the support services available to people in need.

One employment law boutique has taken the step of putting its money where its mouth is, with a commitment to donate one dollar to beyondblue for every new client that walks through its doors.

McDonald Murholme principal Andrew Jewell said that over nearly 10 years in practice, he has witnessed first-hand the prevalence of stress and anxiety among clients.

The practice has an office in Adelaide and Melbourne, with Mr Jewell saying that employment issues are the cause of many mental health concerns.

“Unfair dismissal, bullying, discrimination, redundancy and the like can put pressure on a person and their family both emotionally and financially,” Mr Jewell said.

“We want our clients to know that we understand the difficulties they are facing, and to know there is legal support available to them.”

According to beyondblue, each year there are about one million Australian adults struggling with depression and more than two million suffering from anxiety.

Mr Jewell added that the initiative intended to allow the firm to give back to the community.

Meanwhile, the DibbsBarker team in Brisbane has raised over $10,000 for mental health research. A group of 30 partners from the mid-tier firm made the donation to the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute after participating in a charity run over Story Bridge.

The firm has previously made comparable donations to the institute for its work researching cancer.

QIMR Berghofer has more than 600 scientists undertaking research into cancer, mental health, infectious diseases and chronic disorders. The institute hopes that its work will lead to the development of prevention strategies, new diagnostics and improve different life-saving treatments.

“With statistics indicating that lawyers are more likely than other professionals to experience depression, we wanted to do something that would have a tangible impact on improving mental health and promoting mental wellbeing in the workplace,” DibbsBarker partner Angela Brookes said.

“The Bridge to Brisbane event gave our team an opportunity to support an excellent cause while enjoying a great day,” she said.

Prior to the charity run, the DibbsBarker office in Brisbane had a visit from Dr Guy Barry, head of the Neurogenomics Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer. Dr Barry shared his insights with lawyers at the firm about the importance of work/life balance from a cognitive perspective.

Lawyers Weekly is proud to be supporting The Light Ball Sydney again this year, a black-tie event in aid of mental health awareness and raising much needed funds for batyr.

Reference: ‘Lawyers show mental health matters as much as business’, Lawyers Weekly, Friday 1st September 2017.