Legal practice consultant Sue-Ella Prodonovich of Prodonovich Advisory said more quantitative and qualitative research of wellbeing across the legal industry was needed to assist in reducing the alarming rates of mental illness in the profession.
Ms Prodonovich, who has spent more than 20 years advising big and small law firms on business development, said Meritas had taken critical steps towards promoting greater openness and transparency about wellbeing in the legal profession.
“This should be fostered more widely across the whole industry to support and sustain long-term cultural change,” Ms Prodonovich said.
Ms Prodonovich said a more collaborative industry-wide approach to harnessing data and insights could help legal services providers to gain a better understanding of wellbeing in the profession, the impact of work-life on their employees and ways to ameliorate the risks of mental illness as much as possible.
“Policies and employee assistance programs play their role in reducing mental illness and enhancing wellbeing in law firms.
“However there also needs to be a bottom up approach to breaking down barriers such as stigma which prevents so many people from accessing help,” she said.
“More industry benchmarking could help build a more open and supportive culture in which all individuals take responsibility for changing attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing.”