From stigma to support: Addressing men’s mental health in the legal profession

Raising awareness and diminishing the stigma of mental health in the legal profession is a key focus for the Law Society. June is Men’s Health Month, an important time to discuss the unique issues and challenges men face when it comes to their mental well-being. 

Studies suggest that men are less likely to discuss their mental health struggles and are less likely to seek treatment when dealing with depression or anxiety. A large portion of legal professionals believe their challenges “are temporary and will pass,” which can lead to negative coping mechanisms. The National Study on the Health and Wellness Determinants of Legal Professionals in Canada found that 24 per cent of men reported risky drinking habits, compared to 18 per cent of women. Alcohol and substance use can lead to further feelings of despair, stress and anxiety, exacerbating mental health challenges.

The same national study found 75 per cent of legal professionals in LGBTQ2S+ communities experience depression, anxiety or burnout and over 37 per cent reported having suicidal thoughts since beginning their professional practice. According to the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation National Survey, young men, gay or bisexual men and racialized men face higher risks of depression and anxiety in Canada. Additionally, racialized legal professionals were found to experience higher levels of psychological distress overall. It's crucial to recognize that depression, anxiety, burnout and suicidal thoughts disproportionately affect certain demographics of men. 

There is no shame in discussing your mental health struggles and seeking help. We encourage you to engage in healthy activities like working out, eating healthy, spending time with loved ones or speaking to a mental health expert.

Learn about free and confidential resources to help prioritize your well-being:

  • The Lawyers Assistance Program provides confidential support, counselling and referrals for lawyers, their families and support staff who need help with alcohol or substance dependencies, stress, depression and other mental health struggles.
  • Access free personal counselling and referral services through TELUS Health One for lawyers and articled students and their families who need help managing stress, relationships, work and other life challenges. 
  • Visit LifeSpeak, a digital wellness platform that gives lawyers anonymous access to videos, live Q&A web chats with mental health experts and articles that can accessed from your phone. LifeSpeak is an excellent option for those looking to invest in mental well-being without scheduling an appointment with a counsellor.
  • If you have concerns or need help regarding discrimination or harassment, contact our Equity Advisor. The service is free, confidential and available to all legal professionals and support staff.

 For more information and resources to address your mental health, visit the Lawyer Well-Being Hub