If you’re a lawyer, there’s a pretty big chance of you having a mental health issue.

And it’s nothing to be ashamed of, either. According to several mental health statistics

  1. 7 out of 10 Californian attorneys said they would switch careers if given a chance [1]
  2. Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers [2]
  3. Lawyers  are 1.33 times more likely to off themselves as opposed to the average citizen [3]

How on earth can you possibly dream of coping with a mental health issue and portray yourself as a sane adult at work? Not all lawyers have the privilege of access to a mental health care practitioner. Subsequently, these affected lawyers do not have the liberty of working with a disability concession. Therefore, they need to brave it and work to pay bills and support not only themselves, but their loved ones as well. It’s tough.

When you’re working in a high-risk industry like law, you have to face adversity whether directly or through your client, every single day. The nature of your work makes you susceptible to mental health issues. If you started out with no illness or symptoms, you’re bound to come across it, or acquire it in the duration of time you work as a lawyer.

Set up a support system at work

Take a page out of Wallmans Lawyers, an Australian law firm. The firm introduced fitness classes, massages, and a room for lawyers to take an occasional break. This law firm has an employee support program where lawyers and their family can see a healthcare practitioner for sessions paid for by the law firm. In the article on Wallman, the writer says that “These initiatives recognise that being a lawyer is a demanding job and most people tend to benefit from having outlets where they can relieve stress, as well as being comfortable in the knowledge that they work in a supportive environment and won’t be judged for opening up.” [4]

If you’re working for a large law firm, it would be in your best interests to discuss your health issue with your associates. This will save you the trouble of having to explain what you’re going through when it happens. Build a support team within your own workplace so that the people around you know how to respond when you need assistance.

 

Sources

  1. The Depressed Lawyer
  2. Lawyers and Depression
  3. Top 11 Professions with Highest Suicide Rates
  4. Lawyers must be more open about mental health
January 25, 2016
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