Just because an attorney loves practicing the law, doesn’t mean that they aren’t struggling with their career. Just because a lawyer paints the perfect picture of their life, doesn’t mean that they aren’t crippled with stress and anxiety.
We think that we know the people we work with. We make assumptions about our colleague’s happiness based on the outward images of success: the verdicts, the cases, the house, the car, the wife and kids. However, all to often, attorneys are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues. Lawyers are three times as likely to suffer from depression as any other profession. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among lawyers. With so many members of this profession overcome and consumed by stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and substance abuse, it is time to have a serious discussion about the problem. I want to encourage you to learn the signals of depression and suicide so you will know if it is time to have a conversation with someone you care about. With raised awareness and your advocacy, we can all take action to improve and save lives. It takes extreme strength to admit you feel you are at the end of your rope. We should all be on high alert for these issues. Take action for yourself! Take action for your fellow attorneys! See the video below to hear it from a few lawyers who found help and are alive today because of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP).
It may be too late for a few of my dear friends to benefit from TLAP’s focus on mental health and suicide prevention. However, it is not too late for other Texas lawyers. I am hopeful that increased access to information and counseling will prevent another needless, painful loss.