Mental Health in the Legal Profession


Research suggests that 1 in 6 employees at any one time will experience mental health issues in the UK. These account for 30-40% of absences from work and as much as 50% of all long-term sick leave cases.

Legal professionals fall within a high-risk group of individuals who are likely to experience the symptoms of mental ill-health during their professional lives.

Many professionals struggle to manage work-related stress, suffer from anxiety or depression, have difficulty sleeping, find it hard to switch off, feel overwhelmed or even ‘burnt out’. These experiences are becoming more and more common in the workplace as people struggle to keep up with technology, ensure excellent client care and meet the daily demands of litigation.

A report published by the Bar Council in 2015 stated that 1 in 3 lawyers find it difficult to control or stop worrying, 2 in 3 feel that showing signs of stress equals weakness and 59% demonstrated unhealthy levels of perfectionism.

There is a clear and growing need to address mental health issues in the workplace in a way which responds sensitively to the needs of individuals in order to ensure a healthy working environment, which in turn promotes productivity and commitment.

International criminal barrister at 9 Bedford Row and meditation teacher Gillian Higgins and Dr Sarah Swan, consultant clinical psychologist have come together to provide bespoke solutions to meet the mental health needs of lawyers in practice.

From one-to-one sessions to workshops on how to manage work-life balance, improve sleep and/or deal with stress, to sessions on mindfulness meditation in the workplace, Gillian and Sarah can help provide the practical support your lawyers need.

To book an appointment to discuss your needs, please contact Gillian at or Sarah at

For further details, please go to and


Gillian Higgins is an international criminal barrister at 9 Bedford Row, a civil and commercial mediator and meditation teacher who has designed and delivered “Introduction to Meditation” classes for barristers at Gray’s Inn, solicitors, accountants and mediators at her Chambers in London. Over the past 20 years, Gillian has worked on high-profile, challenging cases dealing with evidence of war crimes in tough environments and as a result, turned to mindfulness meditation to help relieve stress in her working life at the bar. She is currently the head of the International Practice Group.

In 2016, she launched her website Practical Meditation which aims to provide tailor- made courses for professionals. Gillian’s courses are aimed at beginners and supported by the latest scientific research. She also designs themed courses to tackle issues such as how meditation can help to reduce anxiety, deal with issues of perfectionism, relieve stress, increase creativity, productivity and improve a sense of wellbeing.

Dr Sarah Swan is a consultant clinical psychologist with over 20 years experience in mental health and substance misuse. Sarah is able to analyse and formulate your firm’s needs, policies and systems in relation to staff emotional wellbeing.

Sarah has extensive experience in developing and delivering a range of training and other interventions to raise awareness of mental health issues and to support emotional wellbeing. Examples include awareness and management of stress, depression, anxiety and substance use, working with perfectionism and increasing resilience. Sarah also has expertise in delivering therapeutic interventions to support individuals with more complex emotional issues and working with teams in public and private sector settings. Sarah’s training and therapeutic work is all based on current best-practice evidence.


Image supplied by Gillian Higgins

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