It can be hard to start a conversation with someone about their emotional wellbeing, in particular a colleague.
Talk to them
However, if you are worried about a colleague or a client and have observed some negative changes in their behaviour over a few days or weeks, it may be time to approach this person. Don’t just ignore it.
Depending on the person (and the context), this may be a simple discussion or it could be more complex. Remember that you don't have to be an expert on mental health to offer support and signposting. Supporting someone you work with involves:
- knowing the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health,
- learning how to communicate with them,
- learning how to offer and provide initial help, and
- learning how to guide them towards appropriate treatments and other supportive help.
There are courses available to help you learn more - you might consider attending a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training within or outside your organisation.
Attend a workshop
A range of workshops can equip you to identify and support people who may be experiencing mental health issues or at risk of suicide.
Consult your manager or HR
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your colleague, perhaps your manager or a HR colleague could start a conversation with them instead.
Links to other websites
The material contained on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute care, treatment or other professional advice. Links to other websites do not constitute an endorsement of that website by the Law Society of Ireland and the Society is not responsible for the contents of any websites referred to from this website.
The Law Society understands that building a community and network of solicitors who are compassionate, who can notice when someone is in distress, and who can be vulnerable and imperfect around each other is human, and gives us all a sense of wellbeing.
Solicitors supporting each other
2021 involves the piloting of a peer support programme for Law Society members using the Balint method. This method is commonly used among peer groups who work closely with clients - including medical trainees, social workers, and other professionals.
The intention of the peer support programme is to facilitate a space where solicitors can support each other in a safe setting. It encourages group members to appreciate the vulnerability of their clients and it supports group members develop a deeper understanding of their own and the client’s feelings.
To comply with public health restrictions, meetings are taking place in an online format for the moment.
This programme is an initiative of the Law Society Professional Wellbeing Project, in collaboration with Law Society Finuas Skillnet with the support of Skillnet Ireland. To support free exchange and discussion, the Law Society has no role in running the group meetings. The Law Society’s sole purpose in this initiative is to assist in the setting up of the peer support system. The programme is run by solicitors with the support of Programme Ambassador (and Law Firm Principal), Sonia Mc Entee.
Exclusively self-employed principals have been invited to engage in the pilot component of the peer support programme, which is now closed. Depending on the success of the pilot, the programme may be expanded out to other categories of members in the future.
For those of you who are interested in engaging in potential future peer support groups, there will be a communication campaign around this.
If you would like to be contacted by the Law Society when this communication campaign goes live, please contact email@example.com to be added to the contact list.
“Ask an Expert” Column
Are you limited in the amount of colleagues or friends you have with whom you can discuss matters or share problems? Are you working in a firm where it may feel unsafe to ask questions or raise dilemmas?
You are not on your own. Our experts would like to offer you some support.
We are inviting you, Law Society members, to write into us with any interpersonal or wellbeing problems/questions/issues you are facing in the workplace. Your problem will be addressed in the ‘Ask an Expert’ column of the Gazette magazine by an expert who will focus on offering support, acknowledgement, reflections, tips, and techniques.
All matters will be treated on a totally confidential basis; names and personal details will be anonymised (the expert providing the advice will not be provided with any personal details), and all emails will be deleted once the subject matter has been dealt with by the expert.
Experts include psychotherapists, executive coaches, academics, psychologists, solicitors, and others - depending on the problems raised.
Women in Leadership Mentoring Programme
The Law Society is committed to your wellbeing and promoting gender equality, diversity and inclusion within the solicitors’ profession.
As part of our commitment, we are proud to offer the Women in Leadership Mentoring Programme, with the aim of supporting women who have been qualified for a minimum of five years and who wish to advance their careers to a senior level.
- Applications for the 2021/22 Women in Leadership Programme are now closed.
For full details on the programme, visit the Women in Leadership page on the website or contact Michelle Nolan, Women in Leadership Programme Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org.