Achieving Change....The Way Forward

  • Marie Jepson

Abstract

Release of the publication ‘Courting the Blues’ clearly established the concerning prevalence of mental illness in the legal profession and its contributing stressors. It elicited a range of responses within the profession including the Resilence@Law initiative from major firms, the adoption of employee assistance programs (EAPs), incorporated mental health on organisational intranets, and mental health first aid training for human resources staff. University law schools and the College of Law have incorporated resilience as part of their curricula and prioritised student wellbeing. The Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation (TJMF) has maintained its focus on mental health, prioritising awareness raising and education to all areas of the law, from students to the judiciary. However, the strong, clear message we have received, is that nothing has really changed within the firms. There is a lack of understanding about the serious nature of mental illness amongst management. The confidentiality of EAP programs is often compromised and thus seen to have little value. In short, despite the range of responses to the issue, it seems that in reality nothing has changed in the workplace.

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