We’re supporting a campaign recognising jurors for the vital and undervalued role they play in the justice system and to ensure they have access specialist mental health support when needed.

This week the campaign launches the UK’s first Jury Duty Appreciation Week which highlights the need for specialist mental wellbeing support for jurors - 50% of whom experience signs of post-trial trauma such as nightmares, intrusive memories, and sleep disturbances.

Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder

Around 350,000 people are called up for jury duty each year in England and Wales. Manchester Metropolitan University research shows a fourfold increase in signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst jurors following short term exposure to murder case materials.

The research found there were many significant mental health implications for jurors viewing skeletal remains and witnessing other distressing oral and visual evidence.

However, in England and Wales jurors are afforded no specialist wellbeing support either before, during or after trials - with official approaches to juror mental health support consisting solely of signposting to the Samaritans and their GP.

Campaign to provide mental health support

We're working with Manchester Metropolitan University and the other campaign partners to encourage the government to change its policies so that jurors can access mental health support – such as counselling and psychotherapy - without fear of legal sanctions for disclosing more than is legally permitted.

Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Director of Professional Standards, Policy and Research, says:

“Jury service is a valuable civic duty, but there’s no designated path for mental health support for jurors who’ve served in England and Wales – even for those attending distressing and difficult trials. It’s vital that jurors can access appropriate mental health support, without fear of prosecution, to help them cope with their experience.”

Former juror Joe Ahearne is lending his support to the campaign, having personally experienced the challenging aspects of the role. He said: “Jury duty was one of the most difficult experiences of my life and there was no help to deal with it. I hope Jury Duty Appreciation Week will start to change that.”

The campaign is led by Manchester Metropolitan University and supported by the British Psychological Society, Canadian Juries Commission, the University of Leicester and wellbeing provider CiC.

You can show support for the campaign on the hashtag #thankajuror.