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Behind the numbers: the infinite variety of mental health stories

Lawyers’ perfectionist mindset and a reluctance to talk about emotions have acted as obstacles to discussing mental health issues in the profession, but as the latest LawCare statistics show an increase yet again in calls to the charity’s helpline, Elizabeth Rimmer says are ways to tackle the problem

1 March 2019

Radio 4 have a fascinating programme ‘More or Less – Behind the Stats’ , where the presenter Tim Harford goes behind the statistics each week which have been splashed across our national media, to help us understand their meaning and validity.

He often exposes the inaccuracies but also brings the statistics to life. You may have seen LawCare’s annual 2018 helpline statistics reported in this Journal and other legal media in January.

These statistics will tell you that our call numbers were up by five per cent in 2018, that the reason most lawyers called us was stress and that we had almost double the number of calls about harassment and bullying.

But what they don’t tell you is why mental health matters in the legal community or the stories of lawyers struggling every day with the pressures of life in the law.

The story of the young female trainee being sexually harassed by a senior male partner and too frightened to tell anyone,...

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