Mental Health Stigma in the Legal Sector


Life in law can be challenging and can really test people mentally.

But what about the positive and thrilling aspect of law?

People get into law because the job itself can be rewarding and rather exciting. Regardless of long hours and intense workloads, there can be something quite satisfactory when you know you’re helping the greater cause or a client- it’s appealing for many. That’s why the legal sector does employ around 350,000 in the UK.

Despite such high employment figures, and the enticing ‘Suits’ TV series appeal, there is a decline in mental health in the legal sector. But why, if so many enjoy and take huge pride in being able to say that they work in law? Perhaps it’s not fully due to the job role, but actually workplace culture. The long hours, internal competition between colleagues, always on call expectation and dreams to make partner, can create a rather negative workplace environment, which can contribute to poor mental health.

Staff members and managers may often be too busy to offer guidance and support and there can sometimes be a lack of compassion.  At times, struggles can be seen as a weakness. Legal professionals may feel as though they don’t have much support at work or feel like they can’t talk about their mental health due to the stigma and office culture surrounding it. In the legal industry, it’s often survival of the fittest and many feel as though they have to prove they’re the best.

There isn’t much occupational health guidance for those in the legal sector and the stigma in the workplace is a contributing factor to stressors and poor mental health. A lot of the stresses of the job can be managed internally by creating an open dialogue between staff and managers and utilising occupational health support. Freely talking about stresses and mental health can improve wellbeing; it’s like the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. By creating a more supportive, less stigmatised culture in the law workplaces, the pressures of the job are managed, and it can become enjoyable again.

That’s what UKIM Occupational Health & Wellbeing aim to do- to create a healthier workplace environment, that has a focus on mental wellbeing. With our Wellbeing in Legal packages, there can be less stigma and a more positive narrative surrounding mental health.