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Men's Health Matters: Why We Need to Talk About It More



Movember is an annual event that takes place during the month of November. It involves the growing of moustaches to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.

 

In the legal sector, men's mental health is a prevalent issue that affects both our clients and colleagues. It is crucial for us as lawyers to recognise the mental health of our clients and provide support during their most difficult and traumatic life events. We must raise awareness about mental health, especially when it may not be easily diagnosed or recognised. For instance, head injuries or concussions can lead to pituitary dysfunction, causing hormone imbalances and mental health issues, including an increased risk of suicide.

 

However, it is concerning that only 35% of Lawyers seeking help are male, according to a study by LawCare. This raises the question of whether men feel comfortable seeking help when they need it.

 

Research has shown that men are more likely to externalise their stress and develop externalising disorders. Therefore, it is essential to create a supportive working environment that includes managing workloads, effective communication, support groups, and fostering friendships at work.

 

Many professionals, especially junior ones, fear speaking out about their struggles due to potential negative impacts on their careers. However, it should be encouraged for male professionals to seek help and support. We hope that any concerns they may have about seeking help are unfounded, and they are directed to the appropriate resources.

 

To gain insight into how our colleagues manage their mental health, we spoke with Liam Bawden, President of the DJLD, and asked him a few questions:

 

1. How do you manage your mental health while working in the legal sector?

 

Managing my mental health in the legal sector is not an easy task. I find that taking time for activities I enjoy is crucial for protecting my mental well-being. Whether it's going to the gym, spending time outdoors, or pursuing my hobbies like maintaining my Reef Aquarium, these activities provide a much-needed break from the legal world.

 

2. Do you face any barriers when talking about your mental health?

 

Historically, it has been challenging for men to address their mental health due to the ‘macho’ front men are expected to show. However, this stigma is outdated and should be left in the past. Personally, I have always been open about my mental health struggles because I believe it is important to show that individuals can thrive despite their challenges. This promotes diversity in the workforce and allows younger professionals to set high goals for themselves, knowing that mental health struggles do not hinder success.

 

3. Do you find having a mentor or buddy system helpful when struggling at work?

 

While a buddy system may not be specifically helpful, having supportive colleagues who you can discuss your mental health is always beneficial. It is easier to cope when you are surrounded by people who are open to these conversations and have experienced similar feelings.

 

 

4. How can we raise awareness of men's mental health as a community?

 

The key is to talk openly about mental health. When I started in the legal industry, there were not many people who openly discussed their mental health. However, by being honest and open about my struggles, I have noticed that my colleagues and friends feel more comfortable opening up to me. It is crucial for us all to have conversations about these issues to break down the stigmas associated with mental health.

 

5. What support do you think would be helpful for men in the workplace?

 

Transparency is essential. Leaders in the workplace should share their own mental health struggles and how they have overcome them. This helps remove the stigma and allows individuals to realise that they can succeed despite their mental health challenges. By being transparent, we can appropriately address our mental health struggles instead of hiding them away, which only exacerbates the issues.

 

To support men's mental health, it is important to remember that raising awareness should be a year-round effort, not just limited to November. There are various outlets of support available, such as Andy's Man Club, a men's suicide prevention charity that offers physical and online support groups. Additionally, more information can be found at


 

As a legal community and as individuals, it is our responsibility to create an environment where people feel comfortable speaking out about their mental health. We must also recognise when we or those around us are struggling and remember that it is okay to seek help and support.














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