Article 3 of 5 in the Mental Health in the Law series
Mental Health: Stop, Collaborate and Listen
There is something beautifully refreshing about people talking openly about mental health in the legal sector. Particularly their own experiences. Particularly men.
Last month, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rob Green, CEO of GRM, an international legal recruitment and research firm, to talk about mental health in the law.
The podcast will form part of GRM’s new, subscription-based portal called GLC or Global Legal Career which will formally launch in September 2020 (see further details about GLC below).
Stopping the stigma around mental health
To be honest, when Rob asked me if I would be keen to be interviewed about mental health in the legal sector, I was pleasantly surprised. For those that don’t know Rob, he’s a former rugby player: strong, tall and confident – no one is going to mess with him.
Not exactly the image of someone I expected would want to discuss mental health matters in a public forum.
The thing is though, when you’ve had the courage:
- to acknowledge and address your own health issues (both physical and mental),
- to see the impact work stress is having on other areas of your life,
- to talk the issues through with someone
- to take steps to change your work habits to create more balance in your life, and
- to now live a life you love,
you understand the importance of talking about mental health issues openly.
Addressing mental health issues in the legal sector
The interview itself provides an interesting spin on mental health issues which affect legal professionals across the board (Business Development professionals, legal secretaries, recruiters etc.) – not just lawyers.
Rob, as a legal recruiter and a service provider to law firms and corporate legal teams alike, and me, as a lawyer and coach for legal professionals, have experienced the legal sector from a variety of angles.
We’ve seen and, in some cases, experienced, a variety of incidents which have caused poor mental health issues in the legal sector to surface (for example, disregard for legal recruitment, bullying, ostracism, over-work, harassment, under-valuing business development, lack of respect etc.).
Our combined 40 years of international legal experience is brought to the table in the interview.
Being interviewed by Rob was an absolute joy! We touched on a range of topics including:
- what mental health actually is
- how poor mental health manifests (e.g. stress, insomnia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression etc)
- examples of situations which may have an impact on a lawyer’s mental health (pre- and post-COVID-19), both personal and professional
- our own experiences with poor mental health and how we turned things around
- some tips to bolster your mental health whilst working in the legal sector
- some thoughts about the pressures likely to impact the legal sector following lock-down
We ended up recording for 3 hours – there was so much to talk about (and boy, can we talk!) – but, the Soundcast team worked their magic and cut us down to 90 minutes – a much more manageable listen for you – our audience.
Click on the link below to listen to the discussion.
What to do if you are struggling with your mental health currently
First of all, I want to let you know that there is nothing to be ashamed about. As we mentioned in the first of our articles this month: The fear around mental health in the legal world, we all experience different levels of mental health throughout our lives (good, mediocre and poor). It’s not static. It’s not constant. It is certainly not a weakness.
Poor mental health can manifest in a variety of ways and to varying degrees, including: stress, anxiety, changes in mood / behaviour, erratic thinking, impulsive actions, low self-esteem, feelings of loneliness, insomnia, burnout (those are just a few).
It leaves you drained, emotional, hyper-sensitive or numb, and to be honest, sometimes, quite teary-eyed.
Nothing feels under control. Nothing feels balanced.
You know this isn’t healthy for you, but often there seems to be very little option to change the status quo, without causing further damage to other areas of your life. Where do you even start?
Here are a couple of options:
What is the point of being a successful lawyer, if it’s costing you your health and happiness?
You’ve worked hard to create this standard of life, so let’s help you start living and loving it by bringing some balance back between the professional and the personal.
If you’re at the point where enough is enough, you want to start living a personal and professional life you genuinely love (you’ve worked hard enough for it), and want support in making the necessary changes, that’s where I come in.
Book a discovery session. Let’s have a chat, see if we are a good fit, and pull a plan together to quash those limiting beliefs and enable you to live a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life, both inside and outside the office.
A little more about Global Legal Career
As I mentioned above, in September 2020, GRM is launching a new, subscription-based portal called GLC or Global Legal Career.
For a small monthly fee, the legal community around the world will be able to access webcasts, podcasts, research papers, CV and cover letter templates and interview assistance through the online GLC platform. In addition, users can practise mock video interviews, attend career guidance webinars, and book one-on-one sessions with legal market career specialists and receive updates of the latest global job openings.
Users will also be able to showcase their skills and meet other members of the community, from around the world, who can help facilitate new career paths and global mobility, and much much more. Needless to say, mental health awareness in the legal sector will be a topic which will be showcased through the GLC platform.