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Raising awareness of suicide prevention

by Anne Chambers, LCSW

In September, we recognize Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Lawyers have above-average rates of substance concerns, depression, and suicide. In a 2015 study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, one in five lawyers screened positive for risky drinking, 28% reported depression, 19% reported anxiety, and 23% reported stress.  

September raises both prevention and awareness about suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, costing over 48,000 lives in 2018. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be accessed by dialing or texting 988, is available 24/7 to anyone who is struggling. Their website has numerous resources for those in crisis, loved ones, attempt survivors, loss survivors, and treatment professionals at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

In addition, lawyers are encouraged to participate in awareness walks throughout the fall. 

More ways to honor National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month:

  • Prioritize your well-being. 
  • Try a new healthy habit.
  • Pick up your phone to reach out for support.
  • Check in with someone who has been on your mind.
  • Teach yourself and others about the importance of self-care.  
  • Join the Lawyers Living Well discussion board at connect.MOBAR.org/home. 

If you would like to discuss addressing depression or substance use matters, or are looking for resources to help someone you know, the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program is here to help! Please consult the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program at 1-800-688-7859 for free, confidential counseling. 


·       American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/, site last visited 9/20/20.

·       Krill, Patrick R. JC, LLM; Johnson, Ryan, MA and Albert, Linda, MSSW. “The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns among American Attorneys,” Journal of Addiction Medicine, http://journals.lww.com/journaladdictionmedicine/pages/currenttoc.aspx, Vol.10 (1), Jan/Feb 2016, pp. 46-52.

·       National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, www.ncadd.org, site last visited 9/17/20.

·       National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/, site last visited 9/17/20.

·       Substance and Mental Health Services Administration. “Preventing Suicide,” https://www.samhsa.gov/suicide, site last visited 9/17/20.

·       Substance and Mental Health Services Administration,   https://www.recoverymonth.gov/#:~:text=SAMHSA's%202020%20National%20Recovery%20Month,live%20healthy%20and%20rewarding%20lives, site last visited 9/17/20.