Chambers marks Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

May 17, 2021
Chambers marked Mental Health Awareness Week during Monday 10th – Sunday 16th May, 2021 with members evaluating a year in Covid and the impact on Wellbeing at the Bar.

RLC members participated in a wide range of activities in the week with the Wellbeing Committee taking over the RLC Twitter feed with daily tips on how to ‘Connect with Nature’- this year’s theme. The award winning Red Lion Chambers garden was given a special mention as a place to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work.

Joint Heads of Chambers Gillian Jones QC and Tony Shaw QC said:

“Much of the Bar suffered upheaval at the hands of the pandemic. With court closures and cases delayed, many counsel were left with financial stress, anxiety, dealing with illness, bereavement and maintaining a work/life balance whilst juggling child-care responsibilities. The individual and collective impact at the Bar has been huge and the road to recovery will take time.

With so much change and unpredictability in our daily work and personal lives, we support the Bar Council’s 2021 census which is currently taking place and is intended to collect important data on how wellbeing and working practices can improve the lives of those working at the Bar.”

Valerie Charbit joined Aspiring Barristers as a panellist for their Wellbeing at the Bar event

Valerie Charbit, Wellbeing Director at the CBA and Head of Wellbeing at Red Lion Chambers joined a panel discussion on Wellbeing at the Bar hosted by Aspiring Barristers, discussing her journey to the bar, work with charities and her passion for Wellbeing. She said:

“I have always had a passion for supporting Wellbeing at the Bar so that we can all pursue better mental health. This webinar looks at the support mechanisms we have in place as well as how to manage stress and handle rejection.”

Watch the webinar below:

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Daniel Robinson, writes a blog piece for Law Gazette

Daniel Robinson, a member of the RLC Wellbeing Committee wrote a blog piece for Law Gazette commenting on the daily challenges faced by criminal barristers and suggested possible solutions:

“We can’t hike every day, but we can seek out those green spaces and less polluted air that are great for the soul. So even if you can’t stop your judge asking you all to work over lunch, try to sit outside to eat. Travel in slightly earlier and detour through round the grounds of the local cathedral before your trial begins. Refuse to sit down and begin your unavoidable work evening before a walk in a park. Try a bit of meditation in the sun if you’re lucky enough to have a garden or a balcony, or an open window.”

Read full piece here: [Law Society Gazette]

Tim Kiely explores Wellbeing in prisons for Counsel Magazine

RLC member Tim Kiely (who has written an anthology of poetry called ‘Hymn to the Smoke’) wrote from the perspective of those incarcerated on how the creative arts, especially poetry, could provide an important space in supporting mental health. He reflected in Counsel Magazine:

“As a means to imagine the world other than it is, and give us a vision of how it might be, art and poetry can be a source of consolation for those struggling both inside and outside prison.”

Read full piece in Counsel here: [Counsel Magazine]

For more information on Wellbeing at the Bar please see: