Improving Mental Health for the Legal Profession

Addressing mental health and substance use issues within the legal profession is a key priority for the Law Society. 

The Law Society recognizes that lawyers are human beings, each with a unique set of personal and professional experiences, and that their well-being can affect their ability to fulfill their professional responsibilities. Lawyers who are well and thriving are move likely to contribute to the effective delivery of legal services and the public’s positive perception and trust in the legal profession.

The Mental Health Task Force was created in 2018 to address topics related to improving the mental health of the legal profession. Since then, the Law Society has become a leader amongst Canadian legal regulators in taking steps to improve the mental health of the legal profession by identifying ways to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and by developing an integrated mental health review concerning regulatory approaches to discipline and admissions.

To date, the Mental Health Task Force has developed approximately two dozen recommendations that are at various stages of implementation. The implementation report details the status of those recommendations. These initiatives include amending stigmatizing language in the BC Code and the admission program enrollment application, developing inclusive language resources for the legal profession, reducing barriers to accessing services from personal assistance programs, and hosting mental health forums to engage legal employers and lawyers in dialogue about these issues and reduce stigma. Additional training has been provided to Law Society staff to better equip them to respond to mental health and substance use issues and to make referrals to appropriate resources and support. The Law Society has also implemented the Alternative Discipline Process (ADP), a program that diverts lawyers who are under investigation from the regular disciplinary process to one focused on the support and management of underlying health issues. The Mental Health Task Force has also developed additional recommendations that respond to the findings of the national study on the psychological health of Canadian legal professionals, which provides critical data with respect to the prevalence of mental health and substance use issues among the legal profession and showcases the need for more support and resources.

The Law Society has recently reorganized and expanded the resources available to legal professionals with the introduction of the Lawyer Well-Being Hub, which provides a central access point to a wide range of resources and support services that are available to lawyers and their families, including easy-to-access resources, videos, FAQs, tools and information.

In addition to providing information about accessing the Lawyers Assistance Program, Telus Health One and other Law Society programs, the Well-being Hub also includes information on our newest wellness resource, LifeSpeak, a digital platform that offers anonymous access to resources and content 24/7, including a library of short, digestible videos, live Q&A web-chats with mental health experts and blog posts. LifeSpeak is an excellent option for those looking to invest in mental well-being without scheduling an appointment with a counsellor. LifeSpeak’s short videos offer practical strategies and insights into mental well-being that can be immediately implemented into daily life. LifeSpeak also provides access to courses that can be claimed for continuing professional development (CPD) credit.

Lawyer Well-being Hub

Go to the Lawyer Well-being Hub for help and resources

Access the Lawyer Well-being Hub