Grief, the family and the lawyer


Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking with Catherine Betley from Grief Chat and Elizabeth Rimmer from LawCare. During our panel style conversation we talked about grief and bereavement and how it affects those close to the person who has died. We also discussed how such incidents can affect the lawyers who may be involved in assisting with the surrounding legal processes, and with those who are suffering with their own loss.  


Support for the legal community

LawCare is a charity that was founded in 1997 for the benefit of anyone working within the legal profession. Not just there to support people through grief and bereavement, but there to listen and offer advice to anyone suffering from any mental health issue. Elizabeth has been the CEO since 2014 and during our discussion she shared her reasons for joining the charity – but you’ll have to tune in to find out!  


Emotional support

It was also so lovely to hear from Catherine about how she came up with the idea for Grief Chat (again you’ll have to listen to get the full story, but it involved a beach and a long-distance crisis). Grief Chat was founded in 2017 to support those suffering with grief. Operating between 9am and 9pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays), the company provides an instant chat service with qualified counsellors.  


What did we cover?

During our conversation we covered a variety of topics including: 


  • grief management; 
  • the seven stages of grief (did you know they are a myth!); 
  • what lawyers and other professionals (including employers) can (and should!) do when working with, for, or alongside someone who has suffered a bereavement; and 
  • the services each company provides. 


Having recently suffered with my own family bereavement the conversation was unintendedly particularly relevant. Learning about the way grief might have affected me, whether it is something you get over, and what a person can do to help their mental health were all unbelievably useful.  


Although I am sure you will have your own, my take aways from the conversation were:  


  • if someone you know has suffered a loss and / or you are working with or for someone who has suffered loss, acknowledge their loss and ask them how they would like you to deal with it moving forward. Some people like to regularly talk about it while others may prefer to avoid discussing it at all. 


  • if you find yourself speaking with someone who has a mental health issue, acknowledge that issue and listen. If the person wishes you to do so, and where possible, point them in the direction of someone able to assist them (if that person isn’t you). 


  • continuing to speak about mental health issues is fundamental to reducing the stigma that still remains, particularly in the legal profession. 


The full conversation can be found on the above or via Spotify. 


I do hope you enjoy listening to this month’s podcast, and that you find the speakers as invaluable in their advice and services as I did. 


Cara Hough, Partner 

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