SBA-supported solicitors: one in four have poor mental health

SBA-supported solicitors: one in four have poor mental health

According to data from the Solicitors Benevolent Association (SBA) charity last year, as many as one in four of their applicants suffer from mental health issues.

Poor mental health was found to be the largest problem amongst claimants in 2016, according to a report on the SBA’s demographics. A sample of 167 approved applications from solicitors, former practitioners and their families was reviewed.

Amongst the conditions cited by solicitors were depression, anxiety and PTSD, with the latter in some cases being a result of childhood trauma, sexual assault or domestic abuse.

Another major health claim was sudden diagnosis of cancer and resulting treatment, either for the claimant or their spouse; this accounted for 12 per cent.

Tim Martin, chief executive of the SBA, has commented that ‘for many of our beneficiaries, poor mental health and difficulties with personal finances are linked in a vicious circle. Being under financial stress is harmful to mental health. If you have mental health problems, it’s much harder to manage money.’

‘Fortunately, SBA is in a good position to be able to help when people are finding it hardest to cope.’

By the end of last year, £1,159,700 had been paid out to the 167 applicants. 41 per cent were first time beneficiaries, resulting in a noticeable increase in those seeking help with financial hardship and support during career transitions.

Two thirds of all applicants were under age 60, despite the common belief that the SBA is primarily targeted at the profession’s retirees and their dependant spouses. The average age was actually 56, with just under a third being aged between 51 and 60.

‘While it’s critically important to maintain the absolute confidentiality of everyone who approaches SBA The Solicitors’ Charity, it’s also clear that we hold a unique set of data about the people who need our help,’ Martin continued.

‘Over time, we will be able to monitor and measure any changes in trends and this will enable SBA to continue to meet existing needs as well as identify emerging issues.’

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