Mental Health and Income Protection


We are aware that the unique pressures of your job and the material you can be exposed to can take its toll on your health.

The stresses that can emerge in the administration of justice are unique and can compound.

The legal profession is overrepresented when it comes to mental illness and in Australia, lawyers are more likely than the general population to experience depression and anxiety. The Brain and Mind Research Institute reported in 2009 that almost a third of solicitors and one in five barristers surveyed suffered from clinical depression during their career.

If at any stage in your career, you need to take some time away from work to get better in this regard, doing so with the help of income protection insurance makes it so much easier.

Getting your income protection insurance sorted as early in your career as you can is just so important to ensure that mental health is included in your policy and not excluded because you’ve already suffered symptoms of this already.


FAQ: Mental Health and Income Protection


Q. Are Mental Illnesses considered as an illness or injury covered by Income Protection?

A. Yes, generally speaking, so long as it’s not specifically excluded from the policy, any form of mental illness such as depression, stress, anxiety, personality, behavioural or emotional disorders are covered under a retail income protection policy


Q. How would I know if it is included or excluded under my policy?

A. If you have obtained a fully underwritten retail insurance policy, it is more than likely that you would have been required to agree to this type of exclusion at application stage if you had any pre-existing condition before you applied. If you are part of a group plan or purchased a direct style insurance policy, you should read the terms and conditions of the policy very closely


Q. If I was to apply for Income Protection insurance, in what circumstances would an insurer normally exclude Mental Health from the policy?

A. Generally speaking, if you have had any symptoms or treatment in the five years preceding your application, it is likely the insurer would apply an exclusion until you have been treatment / symptom free for five years.


Q. What does a Mental Illness exclusion generally look like?

A. They differ from insurer to insurer, but here is an example that is fundamentally similar across most insurance companies. A mental health exclusion will generally exclude all different types of mental illnesses even if you only have a history of one:

Under this policy, no benefit shall be payable arising out of or in connection with any mental or nervous disease or disorder including, but not limited to anxiety, depression, stress, chronic fatigue syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, exhaustion or fibromyalgia, physical complications of psychiatric disorders, drug, alcohol or substance abuse, cognitive impairment, behavioural disorders or complications arising from treatment thereof.


If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health concerns please contact the following organisations:


Vic Lawyers Health  T: 1300 664 744 |

Lifeline Australia T: 13 11 14 |

Beyond Blue  T: 1300 22 4636 |

SANE Australia  T: 1800 18 7263 |

Headspace (for up to 25 years of age) T: 1800 650 890 |