Mental Health Awareness Month
The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as the pandemic continues, it has been more important now more than ever to think about mental health within your home life, and your work, and coming up with a balancing act. All kinds of professions can disrupt this crucial balance, but the legal profession has cemented a culture that values long work hours, and productivity over everything else.
If you are a legal professional, chances are that you may need to take a closer look at your mental health. According to two studies published in 2016:
- 25 percent of lawyers suffer from depression.
- 19 percent of lawyers had severe anxiety.
- 11.4 percent of lawyers had suicidal thoughts in the previous year.
These numbers are staggering and highlight just how important mental health awareness is needed for legal professionals.
One place to start, if you or someone you know in the legal industry is struggling is the Lawyers’ Assistance Programs or LAPs. These programs provide support and services for lawyers, paralegals, judges, paraprofessionals/legal assistants, law students, and their friends/ families/loved ones. LAPs are confidential and are available in every state. Contact your local program to get started with help.
The Importance of Mental Health Awareness In and Beyond Law
Some people may be a little confused on why mental health needs awareness. Here are a few reasons why even a month of mental health awareness may not be enough:
- The Existing Social Stigmas that Come with Mental Health—For people to feel comfortable to even seek help, they need to acknowledge that they are struggling. However, because of the various social stigmas associated with mental illness, many continue to struggle. By bringing awareness to the numbers, individuals, and stories of those with similar struggles can help remove those stigmas, and ultimately may save lives!
- The Lack of Understanding— many mental illnesses are invisible, making them easy to ignore. However, just like a physical illness, a mental one can mean chronic ups and downs. With more awareness of these struggles, people who do not suffer can get a better understanding of the seriousness and impacts of these invisible ailments.
- The American Work Environment— by bringing awareness to mental health, workplaces can be held accountable for the environments that they create. They can learn ways to improve and adjust to help their employees. Wellness within the workplace has become such a crucial part of success, productivity, and work-life balance. And now more than ever, it is significant to the wellbeing of individuals.
Resources for Mental Health
If you or someone you know are struggling, below are some resources that may be able to help, regardless of your profession:
The National Institute of Mental Health—a part of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, they research mental illness and can help with education on mental illness.
- Health Resources and Services Administrators (HRSA): HRSA can help people connect to healthcare, including mental health care. It can be a great resource for those looking to connect with a mental health professional but don’t have health insurance or aren’t sure where to start.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)— NAMI has tons of resources on its website and provides knowledge and education on mental illness.
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM)— their website has a directory of several organizations that can help you find a mental health professional.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)— for those struggling with substance abuse issues and their mental health, SAMHSA can be a great resource. SAMHSA can connect you with local treatment, counseling, and tons of other resources.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—CMS can help you connect with health insurance and resources.
- Mental Health for Veterans— check out the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs website for tons of resources for veterans.
Below are some non-profits that may be able to help you:
- Mental Health America (MHA) — A non-profit that helps with mental health awareness, and helps people suffering from mental illness.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention— The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.
- Child Mind Institute— a non-profit that helps families and children who suffer from mental health and mental disorders.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)— ADAA is a nonprofit organization that is committed to the prevention and treatment of several disorders including depression, anxiety, and OCD.
State and Local Resources
Your local social services agency/ department can help you connect with local help and community programs. Find your local social service agency here.
At the Mass Tort Institute (MTI) we developed a free mini course on mental wellness for those working in the legal industry. Get started with our Well-Being in Law mini course by registering.
Written by Nooreen Baig
About the Author
Nooreen Baig is the Marketing Strategist at The Mass Tort Institute. She is passionate about creativity in all aspects of marketing and beyond. Her background in American Literature and content creation means she can also contribute to MTI’s various content heavy channels.