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Why lawyers should walk for mental health

Mental Health Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues around the world, writes Emmi Airaksinen.

user iconEmmi Airaksinen 12 October 2023 SME Law
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World Mental Health Day falls in Queensland’s Mental Health Week (7–15 October), and a record-breaking 157 events across Queensland are supported by the Mental Health Week Community Events Grant Program.

“Lift the Lid Walk for Mental Health” is one of them. The movement is an initiative aimed at raising awareness and funds for mental health research in Australia. It encourages people to come together to destigmatise mental health issues and promote open conversations.

This year, on 8 October, I walked for this cause. I walked knowing there is a rise in secondary psychological injuries – as acknowledged in the 2023 Queensland Workers’ Compensation Scheme Review Report. Because of this report, I also know that a large proportion of workers who suffer physical workplace injuries develop depressive symptoms within one year of the injury.


In my role as a personal injury lawyer, I see physical trauma resulting from various accidents and events, including motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, falls and workplace events. These can all have a profound impact on a person’s mental health and may lead to secondary mental health injuries.

I work for many clients who experience mental health difficulties because of their physical injuries. “I just want my life back” is something I hear often – and these words have stuck with me.

Imagine one day having an active lifestyle, working full-time, and being able to participate in all aspects of daily living. Imagine being passionate about running or surfing. Now imagine suddenly not being able to work at all, run, surf, get dressed, cook or drive.

These are some of the difficulties that people who have been involved in an incident have to come to terms with. As a result, injured people often suffer from loss of independence, sleep disturbances and financial distress. It goes without saying that such challenges may lead to a diagnosis of depression or anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety and depression may then lead to isolation and loneliness and affect the ability to work. In addition, injured people are often going through a legal process for compensation simultaneously because it is crucial to seek competent legal assistance early in the process to minimise another layer of stress.

Travis Schultz & Partners are proud sponsors of Lift the Lid Walk 2023. It felt empowering to walk with my colleagues to support this important cause, and it was amazing to see so many people raising awareness about mental health. Although this year the weather was not necessarily on our side, the atmosphere was electric, and I am looking forward to supporting this cause again next year. In the meantime, I will be supporting our clients by making their compensation process as smooth as possible.

Emmi Airaksinen is a lawyer at Travis Schultz & Partners.