Legal Community Counselling Service now available
NZBA President, Kate Davenport QC has congratulated the New Zealand Law Society on introducing a nine-month trial of a free and confidential professional counselling service. "This service, which is available to anyone in a legal workplace – lawyers and non-lawyers – is much-needed and could not have come at a better time," says Ms Davenport. "The Law Society has worked hard to make this service available to people who need it."
NZLS President Tiana Epati, and announcing the scheme, noted that law is an area where there are high levels of stress that could lead to a raft of mental health and well-being issues. "Finding support and advice can be difficult, particularly as many of our legal workplaces have small numbers of staff. We are committed to finding effective ways to support healthy, safe, respectful and inclusive legal workplaces," said Ms Epati.
The Law Society has signed an agreement with Vitae, an incorporated society and a registered charity, and one of New Zealand’s most experienced providers of workplace wellbeing services. Vitae has been providing counselling services since 1965. It has over 400 support specialists and more than 500 organisations as clients. Its wellbeing services are available to more than 130,000 workers and 30,000 tertiary students.
Ms Davenport also noted the importance of the service's availability to the extended legal workforce; "As Ms Epati said, there are more non-lawyers than lawyers working in the legal industry. Sometimes they bear the brunt of the stress of tight deadlines, numerous people wanting their work pushed ahead of the queue, or simply having to deal with the stress of others around them. I echo Ms Epati's call to circulate this information to others in your workplace."
How will the counselling service work?
This service is immediately available to anyone who works in a legal workplace. It is a 24/7 service - in other words, available at any time throughout the year.
You are entitled to three free, confidential sessions with an appropriate counselling professional of your choice. The first two sessions are on a self-referral basis. Vitae can recommend, on an anonymous basis, that the Law Society funds a third session if needed. This recommendation is made without revealing individual or identifying information to the Law Society.
When contacting Vitae, advise that you are accessing the Legal Community Counselling Service.
To access the service:
- Free call 0508 664 981
- Fill out the online referral form at www.vitae.co.nz
- Download the Vitae NZ app from the App Store or Google Play
To download the app, please use the following links:
Alternatively, search ‘Vitae NZ’ on your device's app store
Information and details of the service are also available on the Law Society’s website.
NB: All contact will be between the person seeking assistance and Vitae. The Law Society will not receive any personal details of those accessing this service. Vitae will only send to the Law Society anonymised and aggregated > to measure the success of the trial.