This case study may be useful if you are looking for examples of developing a wellbeing policy, removing stigmatisation of mental health and promoting awareness of wellbeing through successful initiatives.
What was the business (other case) for action?
Chambers want to assist members to return to work after a period of mental or physical illness by being as flexible and supportive as possible. Fourteen acknowledge that flexibility around working arrangements can also be a great help to those with caring responsibilities and will support their commitment to retaining members.
Fourteen seeks to improve the experience of all those working within chambers. Family law is often particularly stressful, on top of what is already recognised as a high-pressure job. Fourteen want to help members and staff minimise their stress levels.
What did the Chambers do?
• All clerks have attended a wellbeing seminar run by IBC.
• Chambers managers are attending the Mentally Healthy workplace seminar run by ILPM.
• A number of members have undertaken Mental Health Training for the Bar at the Bar Council.
• Other members will be trained as mental health first aiders.
Fourteen drafted and conducted an anonymous wellbeing survey to assess the impact work has on members’ wellbeing, to better understand stress levels and their causes with a view to reducing them.
Based on the results of the survey, Chambers drafted a wellbeing policy.
Opening up dialogue:
• Chambers talk openly about wellbeing without stigmatisation.
• Taken steps to promote resources for support services, including the Bar Council’s Assistance Programme (Telephone helpline and access to counselling).
Fourteen has introduced wellbeing mentoring.
Fourteen offer other ways to engage with wellbeing issues, and have set up activities including:
“Fourteen has recognised the additional stress of Family practice and introduced a range of wellbeing initiatives and support. It is good to see their focus on mental health training for both clerks and members. Fourteen have recognised the importance of open conversations about wellbeing in order to tackle stigma and we are encouraged they are already able to report that their work in this area is paying dividends.”
Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group
What were the results?
Whilst these are early days, the feedback is that members feel a sense of relief that they are not alone in finding work stressful. It has created a generally more supportive environment, which encourages members to share their burdens and know that they will be listened to without fear of stigmatisation.
Activity has promoted discussion around mental health and wellbeing. It has helped individuals think about their levels of stress and anxiety and whether these could be reduced.
The information and resource packs on this website are designed to help you and your colleagues to work as a community for better wellbeing and professional resilience. If you want to provide feedback on these resources, or to get involved in promoting wellbeing please get in touch.
It can be difficult to make a living from law and it can be pressurised and demanding. Competition and an adversarial approach to everything can make collegiate relationships difficult. This website aims to provide you with the knowledge to manage these stressors, make emotionally informed, wise professional decisions and thrive in your chosen profession.
A simple expression that sums up wellbeing is ‘travelling well’
Psychological wellbeing within the profession is rarely spoken about