Reclaim your lunch break and recharge during Mental Health Awareness Week

10 May

Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10 – 16 May, is an opportunity for everyone to reassess their stress levels and take steps to address any concerns they may be experiencing. LawCare, which provides emotional support to all legal professionals, support staff and their family members, has advised practitioners to recharge by reclaiming their lunch breaks through venturing outdoors.

 Mental health is one of the major public health challenges in Scotland. According to the NHS around one in four people are affected by mental ill-health in any given year. Covid-19 has had an additional, significant impact on mental health in the past year, with research released last week by the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of adults experiencing depression has more than doubled since the advent of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has placed a severe strain on us all, with some members having found lockdown particularly difficult for both professional and personal reasons,” said Dean of Faculty Roddy Dunlop, QC.

“I remain aware of the difficulties caused by isolation and while not all members may have had a difficult experience due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, I suspect that even the most resilient among us have found our current working conditions stressful in one aspect or another. I hope that – as restrictions ease – I will see more of you in the Library, and a return to the collegiate way of working that we all value,” he added.

 LawCare’s advice to step away from work and use lunch breaks to connect with nature is based on academic research which suggests that time spent outdoors can renew people’s attention spans when they are flagging after a hard day’s work or an extended period staring at a screen. There is evidence that exercise outside can be more effective than antidepressants for those with mild to moderate depression. “It is also well known that time spent with animals, or gardening has a positive impact on your mental health,” said LawCare.

The Faculty subscribes to LawCare on behalf of all its members, who can access support by calling its confidential helpline on 0800 279 6888, sending an email to  or use the online chat and other resources, including Mental Health Awareness Week materials, at