Even pre-pandemic, attorneys and law students had high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. According to the ALM’s 2021 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey, mental health issues in the legal industry only increased in 2020, and higher rates were reported in attorneys of color. Many bar associations and affiliates offer mental health and wellness resources and services for legal professionals and law students, including the American Bar Association, Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and the Houston Bar Association.
American Bar Association
The American Bar Association (ABA) provides “mental health resources for the legal profession” on various topics, including anxiety, depression, substance use resources, and suicide. The ABA has also produced a document called “Substance Use and Mental Health Toolkit for Law School Students and Those Who Care About Them.”
Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program
The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program (TLAP) offers many resources in addition to confidential phone support. TLAP services are available to law students, lawyers, judges, and legal employers, and issues addressed include: wellness; stress & anxiety; depression & bipolar; suicide prevention; substance use; and cognitive decline.
Helpful TLAP websites to explore include:
Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program: https://www.tlaphelps.org/ – There is a link to a free, 1-hour CLE on depression and suicide prevention (logging in to TexasBarCLE required).
TLAP Support Toolbox: https://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=articles&ContentID=52510&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm – This website offers numerous support videos on many topics, remote lawyer/law student support, and links to support groups and other resources.
TLAP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TLAPhelps/ – Follow for daily wellness programing, updates on local events, online-presentations, groups, and meetings, including information on TLAP’s Remote Well-being Wednesday Speaker Series, noon to 1 p.m., on the 4th Wednesday of each month.
Attorney Wellness (Texas Young Lawyers Association): http://texaslawyercare.tyla.org/index.html – Topics on this website include achieving wellness, warning signs, culture of wellness, and finding help.
Houston Bar Association
The Houston Bar Association (HBA) has a wellness webpage that features video resources, discounts, a wellness tip of the week, and recommended apps. Through this website, HBA also provides links to resources on addiction, mental health, physical health, and mindfulness, among other topics.
A Special Note on Suicide Prevention
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides the following informational resources:
In addition, you can learn more about suicide prevention from Mental Health America of Greater Houston, here: https://mhahouston.org/get-help/suicide-prevention/.