A group of current and aspiring barristers are setting up a new network, Barristers with Lived Experience of Mental Illness (BLEMI).
The importance of well-being at the Bar is being increasingly recognised and such progress is extremely welcome. The members of BLEMI are keen for the continuing development in this area to include tackling the barriers to those at the Bar who have experience of mental illness. There are barriers even to discussing mental health and, for aspiring barristers, uncertainty as to whether the Bar is the place for them. BLEMI aims to open up discussions around mental illness at the Bar, with a view to educating, breaking down taboos, and providing support.
Initially, BLEMI will provide a confidential setting in which those with lived experience of mental illness can meet. The group will then decide on further steps to achieve its aims, such as arranging events for members, events to raise awareness of mental illness across the Bar, and events for organisations that work alongside the Bar.
Before its official launch in September 2021, BLEMI is fundraising the costs of start-up and recruiting steering group members. If you would like to support BLEMI with a donation, you can do so here
Those already involved in the initiative include Steve Broach (39 Essex Chambers), Rebecca Griffiths (Apex Chambers, Cardiff), Alice Irving (Doughty Street Chambers) and Tommy Seagull (incoming pupil barrister at Garden Court Chambers). If you would like to join BLEMI, please contact any of these members through their chambers email addresses. All enquiries will be treated on a confidential basis.