Mental health concerns in the legal profession

Australian judges and magistrates experience high rates of occupational stress, burnout, alcohol addiction and even PTSD.

A new study from the University of Melbourne has found the rates of judicial officers’ with psychological issues were considerably higher than the general population. These members of the legal professions were experiencing mental health issues ranging from problem drinking and sleep disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Over half reported some level of psychological distress. Three-quarters were at risk of burnout. One-third were experiencing symptoms of secondary traumatic stress warranting formal assessment for PTSD.

Almost one in three have alcohol problems.

Nearly half had trouble sleeping as well as intrusive thoughts about work.

The nature of some legal work and court cases is sometimes very confronting. Sometimes court cases can involve testimony about violence and other distressing situations. The effect of hearing this can cause secondary PTSD. As many as one in five legal professionals felt they had relived the traumatic experience of a person appearing in court.

Obtaining support and trying, as far as possible, to reduce other stressful experiences is important in PTSD treatment. This allows the person to focus more on recovery. If they are distressed after a traumatic event, they should seek help from a health professional.

Like so many people in workplaces requiring highly skilled professionals, people in the legal professions need to take care of their mental health as well.

At Retreat South we recommend that if you are experiencing stress, anxiety or are overwhelmed by workplace events, you seek professional support. If you think you might need to take time out and visit a retreat, take some time to read what Retreat South can offer or call us today.