TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH, ONE STEP AT A TIME

TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH, ONE STEP AT A TIME

ALMOST a thousand legal eagles will be taking to the streets during National Law Week for the 9th Annual Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH) Legal Walk.

The 5km trek through South Brisbane will kick off on the morning of May 17 outside the Supreme Court building, with participants aiming to raise an ambitious $100,000 for QPILCH's burgeoning mental health law practice.

QPILCH principal solicitor and event coordinator Karen Dyhrberg (pictured below right) says the event has been growing from strength to strength since it first launched in 2008.

She believes legal professionals have a special part to play in assisting people who experience mental health issues, and those who might feel the effects of the law more than others for reasons beyond their control.

"I think that lawyers in particular will always appreciate the effect that the law can have on people's lives," says Dyhrberg.

"For someone with a mental illness the law can take away the right for people to make decisions for themselves or the right to own their own homes for example.

"More than anyone else I think lawyers understand how difficult it can be to resolve issues like these and move on in life."

Ashurst, McCullough Robertson, Minter Ellison and Clayton Utz are among a number of Brisbane firms that have already committed teams to the cause.

Participation by universities and governing legal bodies will also be strong this year, with members from Griffith University, State and Federal Courts and the Queensland Law Society all set to put their most charitable feet forward on the day.

Dyhrberg says QPILCH is lucky to be an organisation that works very closely with all its volunteering barristers and firms, to provide an inclusive hub for people who struggle to access proper legal help and advice.

"We aim to make sure the lawyers and students that volunteer with us are equipped and trained up to deal with clients who they might not be used to dealing with in their normal environments," says Dyhrberg.

"We want to be able to continue supporting that work and coordinating programs to make it all happen."

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