Anxiety or Depression

 

DIAL 911 if you, or someone you know, is experiencing a mental health crisis.

If you feel overwhelmed by the long hours, constant stress, high demands, and higher expectations of the legal profession, you are not alone.  Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health concerns in the United States. Research shows that lawyers (and law students) experience these conditions at significantly higher rates than the general population. Sleep disturbances; fatigue; procrastination; isolation; excessive worry or intrusive thoughts that will not go away; feelings of pessimism or hopelessness; or changes in mood or physical health can all be symptoms of anxiety or depression.

However, there is hope. Sometimes, just talking to someone about how you feel can help minimize symptoms of depression or anxiety.  Often, making changes to reduce or eliminate highly stressful situations can help.  Other times, healing comes from talking to a therapist and/or accessing appropriate treatment under a doctor’s care.

Sometimes, emotional pain and hopelessness can become overwhelming, leading to thoughts of harming oneself. It is an unfortunate fact that the rate of suicide among lawyers is greater than among the general population. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1.800.273.TALK (8255) (available 24/7)

Possible Suicide Warning Signs

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, seeing no reason for living, or having no sense of purpose
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling in unbearable pain – like there is no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Isolating and/or withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Giving away prized possessions or other personal belongings, or taking unusual actions to put personal or work affairs in order
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping significantly more than usual
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes

 

How to Help a Colleague Who Exhibits Warning Signs

DIAL 911 if you believe someone is in imminent danger of harming themselves.

If you believe a colleague may be at risk for suicide, encourage them to seek helpTake expressions of suicidal thoughts or behaviors seriously.  Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline recommends the following when someone is threatening suicide:

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare the person to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1.800.273.TALK (8255) (available 24/7)

  • Call the OAAP by dialing 503.226.1057 or toll free 800.321.6227. An attorney counselor is available by telephone 24/7.  We can help you assist your colleague and/or help your colleague directly.

If you are concerned that you, or someone you care about, are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, or exhibiting warning signs of suicide, OAAP attorney counselors can help or, if needed, refer you to other health professionals to make sure you get the help you need. Your call is confidential.

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