Victoria’s two leading legal bodies are launching a major fundraising campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues among lawyers.
The Wellbeing and the Law Foundation (WATL) will be officially launched tomorrow (12 September). It seeks to generate funds to raise awareness of mental health conditions within the profession and to “address the stigma of mental illness and create an environment where people can ask for help without fear”.
Victorian chief justice Marilyn Warren will be the Foundation’s patron, with the retired Supreme Court judge Bernard Teague, the Foundation’s chair.
Late last month Teague was presented with the President’s Honorary Award at the Law Institute of Victoria’s 2013 Legal Awards.
The setting up of WATL comes shortly after the Victorian Bar released studies that showed bullying is triggering anxiety and depression in barristers.
The BarCare report found that more barristers seeking help for anxiety and depression.
“I’m finding that increasingly barristers are approaching me with concerns about bullying ... I think this is an issue that is worthy of debate in the profession and should be addressed,” said Michelle Sharpe, the deputy chair of the Victorian Bar’s Health and Wellbeing Committee, when talking to Lawyers Weekly in July.
Tomorrow’s launch of the Foundation will take place at the lecture theatre of the ground floor of the LIV’s premises at 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne.