Health and Wellbeing

LIV Mental Health and the Legal Profession: A Preventative Strategy report

The LIV’s Mental Health report, launched on 11 September 2014, calls for implementation of health and wellbeing programs that are proactive in their approach to wellbeing and preventative in their focus on mental health.

The report recommends a Victorian legal community health and wellbeing strategy that seeks to address:

  • The stressful nature of working as a lawyer (including work culture and environments and the risk of vicarious trauma in some areas of law)
  • The need for profession-wide responsibility for a profession-wide issue
  • The importance of access to appropriate services, regardless of where a lawyer works

The strategy provides a framework for health and wellbeing programs and initiatives across the Victorian legal community. It also sets out detailed recommendations for implementation.

The recommendations in the report call for the implementation of a legal community health and wellbeing strategy that targets:

  • Systemic and work environment issues
  • Potential individual risk factors for becoming unwell
  • Early detection and intervention
  • Relieving the impact of mental illness

See the Full Report (pdf)

View the Executive Summary (pdf)

Proposals are informed by research on existing legal and medical profession health programs, as well as consultations with members of the legal and medical community. The LIV’s lawyer health and wellbeing consultation was conducted between 15 November and 13 December 2013. Participants in the consultation were invited to consider a consultation paper and respond to ten discussion questions.

For more information about implementation of the Victorian legal community health and wellbeing strategy, contact Laura Helm on lhelm@liv.asn.au or (03) 9607 9380.

Vic Lawyers' Health

Vic Lawyers’ Health is an independent and confidential wellbeing support service, exclusively for Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) members (except student members).

The service was initially launched as a pilot program in April 2012, as the ‘Vic Lawyers’ Health Line’. The Vic Lawyers' Health Line was funded until June 2014 by the Legal Services Board Grants Program.

Following the outcomes of the LIV’s ‘Mental Health and the Legal Profession: A Preventative Strategy’  project, Vic Lawyers’ Health was re-launched in September 2014 as a 24-hour support service for LIV members.

Vic Lawyers’ Health is administered independently from the LIV by Optum.

These services are provided free of charge:

  • 24-hour telephone counselling
  • Up to three face-to-face counselling sessions
  • Telephone advice to managers and human resources staff

The LIV is committed to promoting mental health and wellbeing among the legal community, and assisting legal professionals to prevent and manage stress, depression and anxiety.

If you are employed in human resources in a law firm or provide support and assistance to lawyers, please visit this page for more information on how you can help them.

See www.viclawyershealth.com.au for more information or call the hotline on 1300 664 744.

Wellbeing and the Law Foundation (WATL)

The WATL Foundation is a joint initiative of the LIV and Victorian Bar (Vic Bar) established to raise funds to support the mental health and wellbeing of those within the legal profession.

You can get involved by making a donation or becoming a WATL Ambassador.

The WATL Foundation is developing a health and wellbeing program for the legal community and seeks input from selected members of the community. On 29 May, the LIV is hosting an invite-only event: Special WATL Event: Wellbeing in the Law program launch and pilot SMiLE workshop. You can view the program here.

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