Lawyer Mental Health & Wellness
Attorney | Vandenack Weaver Truhlsen
Lawyer Mental Health and Wellness is one topic that is not addressed that much in the legal community. There are number of reasons as to why this might be: stigma towards mental health and substance abuse, shame, and the thought of being shunned by colleagues, supervising attorneys, family, and friends.
According to the Nebraska Legal Assistance Program, mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorders, and compassion fatigue, are commonly experienced by lawyers, judges and law students. In fact, a recent study found that 28% of lawyers were at high risk for depression and 19% were at high risk for anxiety. Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control, lawyers rank high on the list of professions as it relates to suicide rates and have a suicide rate six times greater than the general population. In fact, it is the third leading cause of death among lawyers, after cancer and heart disease.
There are several ways that a lawyer can maintain good mental health and well-being such as staying hydrated, exercising, taking breaks, and eating. However, I believe that the key to good mental health and well-being is doing what makes you happy and productive. Ask yourself what can I do to make myself happier and my day more productive? The aforementioned ways are great tools to use for happiness and productivity, but they might not be for everyone. Personally, my “go to” is listening to music and taking mini breaks which leads to my happiness and productivity. Check with your agency or firm to see if your “go to” is permissible.
How can I get help? There are several resources that a legal professional can use to get help. Each state offers a lawyer assistance program. Please click here to see your state’s lawyer assistance program.
In Nebraska, legal professionals (law students, lawyers, and judges) can go to https://www.nebar.com/mpage/NLAP for resources.