Mental Health Day – October 10th
October 10th is World Mental Health Day and
National Law School Mental Health Day!
Neither the statistics nor the available resources are not new. The legal industry has a wellness problem and has been working to address the tremendous stress that attorneys and legal professionals face. What is new since the 2016 ABA/Hazeldon Study found a high rate of mental health and substance use concerns in the legal profession, is the awareness and outreach that is available throughout the Commonwealth. We know there is a problem. We know there is a solution. Let’s connect the two.
This is a great opportunity to SPEAK OUT AGAINST STIGMA!
One major obstacle in achieving this outcome is the stigma that still surrounds mental health and substance use disorders and getting help to address them. Some simple steps you can take, starting today are:
- Encouraging daily wellness for yourself and your team (taking small steps to build healthy habits and practices – lead by example),
- Talking openly about mental health,
- Educating yourself and others,
- Encouraging equality between physical and mental illness,
- Showing compassion for those with mental illness,
- Promoting access to treatment and time for appointments and recovery, and
- Sharing your story are monumental steps on the path to eliminating stigma.
World Mental Health and National Law School Mental Health Day present the perfect opportunity to embrace these stigma reduction tools.
Mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, and suicide do not discriminate.
No one is immune to their development. In fact, members of the legal profession are at higher risk than most other advance-degreed professionals. The legal industry incentivizes behavior that can have a negative impact on mental health – long hours, high stress, and not taking time off. Some of these may be unavoidable given the nature of our work. What we can change is: encouraging wellness, incentivize prevention and early intervention when problems arise, and support and promote holistic treatment, time off, and recovery for those who suffer.
In many instances, that work actually begins with law students. The earlier we start making room for wellness, the better the outcomes can be!
Wellness is a practice to be encouraged, not discouraged.
The ABA Task Force Report defines “well-being as a continual process of seeking to thrive in each dimension of one’s life: emotional, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, physical and social.” It continues, “The concept of wellbeing in social science research is multi-dimensional and includes, for example, engagement in interesting activities, having close relationships and a sense of belonging, developing confidence through mastery, achieving goals that matter to us, meaning and purpose, a sense of autonomy and control, self-acceptance, and personal growth.”
- ABA 21-Day Habit Building Challenges
- IWIL Well-Being Tool Kit
- Mental Health First Aid (Note: VJLAP provides MHFA Training)
- Lawyers with Depression
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center (Call 988)