LawCare’s 20th anniversary celebration and conference, ‘Making mental health matter’, took place in London on 10 October.
It brought together over 70 attendees from across the legal community and jurisdictions.
The half-day event provided an opportunity to stimulate thinking about mental-health matters in the legal community, and was followed by a party and short speech from vice-chair Robert Venables.
Mr Venables outlined the history of LawCare, which has moved from being a charity with the limited remit of supporting solicitors with addiction and related problems, to one that offers help to the legal profession throughout Ireland and Britain on a wide range of issues encompassing stress, depression, anxiety, and bullying at work, among others.
One of the most engaging discussions was the panel session hosted by Eduardo Reyes (features editor of the Law Society Gazette in England and Wales). Eduardo drew out the organisational approaches to mental health from Nigel Jones (chair of City Mental Health Alliance and a partner in Linklaters), Bryan Scant (Junior Lawyers’ Division, Law Society of England and Wales), Kirsty Hood (Scottish Faculty of Advocates), and
Antoinette Moriarty (Law School of Ireland Counselling Service).
Antoinette’s contribution inspired many questions from the floor and prompted discussion about how to encourage those starting out on their legal careers to seek support when they need it.
Inspiration and motivation
‘Making mental health matter’ also welcomed Valerie Peart and Louise Campbell from the Law Society of Ireland (who are LawCare trustees), as well as Attracta Wilson from Northern Ireland (also a LawCare trustee).
CEO of LawCare, Elizabeth Rimmer, said: “We’re inspired by the participants’ motivation to continue to raise awareness about why mental health matters in the legal community, to promote the benefits of good mental health in the workplace, and to ensure that those in need of help and support know how and where to find it.”