Missouri Bar celebrates Lawyer Well-Being Week
The legal profession comes with lots of rewarding work, but it also presents challenges, including mental health concerns. According to recent studies, lawyers are at an increased risk for depression, suicide, substance use and other complex wellness matters, and Missouri professionals are not immune. During Lawyer Well-Being Week, Missouri Bar members are encouraged to take a few minutes to evaluate their own wellness and tap into the tools available to assist them with common struggles.
“The practice of law is demanding, impacts the lives of many clients and can take a personal toll on attorneys over time,” said Anne Chambers, director of the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program. “Lawyer Well-Being Week is a time to pause, decompress and explore healthy ways to manage the stress of legal practice.”
“The practice of maintaining overall wellness is the cornerstone for managing career, family and community expectations,” said Roger Whittler, LPC with MOLAP.
Chambers and Whittler stressed that it is important to know that reaching out for help with mental health and substance use concerns is a sign of strength and hope.
Free, confidential counseling services are available 24/7 for Missouri lawyers, judges and law students – as well as their immediate families – through The Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program (MOLAP). MOLAP also hosts an annual fall conference and assists with wellness components of Missouri Bar meetings, including ethics learning tracks that emphasize self-care through mindfulness, exercise, healthy communication, burnout prevention and more. In 2019, this included a plenary with prominent Missouri lawyers and judges, including Missouri Bar President-Elect John Gunn, discussing their own personal mental health challenges and successes.
Earlier this month, The Missouri Bar created a new online community for lawyers to discuss self-care, mindfulness and more in a supportive environment of their peers. The Lawyers Living Well discussion group is available as part of several Committee/Discussion Groups, and lawyers may choose to receive communications in real-time or as a daily digest. Lawyers also now have access to savings on lifestyle services, including gym memberships, as part of their Member Benefits.
“We can’t take care of our clients or our families if we don’t take care of ourselves,” 2019-20 Missouri Bar President Tom Bender emphasized. “Find some time to put a little fun, or at least a little relaxation, in your daily life.”
Mental health matters, and The Missouri Bar is here to help with your wellness and concerns. For more information, go to mobar.org/molap, or watch for and join the conversation with #MOLawyersLivingWell on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.