Mindfulness, Meditation and Mental Health: BPP announces new initiatives
January 20, 2020
3 min read
What's going on here?
BPP University Law School has announced the trial of a number of mental health focused initiatives. Mindfulness and meditation classes will be rolled out for students preparing to enter the legal profession. These measures are in response to the ever- growing number of law students and lawyers suffering from mental health related illness.
What does this mean?
Terrifying statistics released earlier this year show the extent of the mental health epidemic. In a survey undertaken by the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society, just under 50% of participants reported to have suffered from poor mental health – a 10% increase from the previous year. Another survey showed that a huge 94% of the 1,803 respondents had experienced work-related stress, with almost a quarter describing this stress as severe or extreme.
Initiatives such as audio-meditation apps will be introduced towards the end of the year. These can be downloaded and listened to on smart phones and will include topics such as work/life balance and self-care. Pop-up meditation studios will also be trialled at certain BPP law school campuses around the UK. The Unwind Experience, a surround- sound meditation company, will undertake guided meditation sessions whilst teaching the importance of mindfulness. BPP has also taken an active approach to changing unhealthy study patterns, by introducing new learning technology designed to identify unhealthy study behaviour. The law school wants to encourage a “work smarter, not harder” approach to studying and to encourage tutors to review their students’ study plans.
Jo-Anne Pugh (Director of Programme Design and Development at BPP) states that these initiatives go beyond simply introducing new modules. She hopes that these self-reflection, well-being and emotional intelligence strategies will be embedded in legal education and training to help prepare students for the future. When LittleLaw spoke to Ms. Pugh, she elaborated that “law firms now have wellbeing very high on their agenda” and that she is “personally committed to the design of law programmes that develop a range of skills and behaviours to help the next generation of legal practitioners thrive and not just survive in the legal workplace”. Jeremy Connick (Partner and Wellbeing Advocate at Clifford Chance, has also been enlisted to create an initiative to raise awareness on the importance of mental health.
What's the big picture effect?
Whilst the formal introduction of mental health initiatives in BPP law school is a big win for mental health advocates, many are still sceptical as to the efficacy of this solution. Feedback from current GDL and LPC students has been mixed. Many have stated that much of their anxiety stems from the sheer workload so taking the time out of the day to practice mindfulness may seem like another task on the to-do list. Others have claimed that 10 minutes of mindfulness a day has massively increased their productivity and positivity, making up for the time invested in practicing mindfulness.
Given the obvious severity of the issue from the statistics, it begs the question of whether a more drastic change is needed in order to manage the mental health epidemic in the legal profession. Whether these initiatives will be successful remains to be seen in the coming months. However, it’s clear that school like BPP are taking notice of the problems and are striving to find the right solutions.
Report written by Emily Noble
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