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Nicola Laver

Editor, Solicitors Journal

LawCare covid-19 calls are 'tip of the iceberg' of emotional problems

LawCare covid-19 calls are 'tip of the iceberg' of emotional problems


Recent calls for help and emotional support to LawCare have revealed some law firms have asked employees to continue to work when furloughed

Recent calls to LawCare for emotional support have revealed some law firms have asked furloughed employees to continue to work.

The legal mental health charity has released its latest covid-19 figures to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from today until 24 May.

It said 48 legal professionals made contact about coronavirus-related issues since 10 March, two weeks before the lockdown was imposed.

Though this represents just 37% of all 130 contacts made to LawCare’s support services since that date, its chief executive Elizabeth Rimmer suggested this is the “tip of the iceberg”.

Topping the list of concerns were not being allowed to work from home, financial issues relating to furlough, pay cuts or lack of work, and worsening mental health conditions.

Some of those calling LawCare were experiencing practical issues caused by the lockdown measures including childcare problems and transport, while others were being asked to work while on furlough.

Further issues included relationship strain and domestic abuse.  

Rimmer commented: “We feel this is very much the tip of the iceberg and anticipate in the coming weeks more and more legal professionals will contact us as the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic begins to really hit home.”

LawCare said the numbers of people contacting it has not increased from a normal month, but the issues people are contacting it about are changing.

Some of the issues, says the charity, that were previously causing stress and anxiety have reduced but they are being or will be replaced with new issues as a result of covid-19.

“We would like to remind all legal professionals”, said Rimmer, “including support staff, they can contact us for free, in confidence, to discuss anything that is bothering them.”

She emphasised that it can really help to talk through problems with one of LawCare’s trained staff and volunteers; all of whom have worked in the law.

Legal professionals can access the charity’s covid-19 information hub here.

LawCare’s helpline number is 0800 279 6888 (1800 991 801 in Ireland).

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