The Holidays, Lawyers and Depression

The Holidays, Lawyers and Depression By Arnie HerzDuring this time of holiday cheer and celebration, I am reminded by a number of Legal Sanity’s readers how the holiday season triggers an upsurge in depression, substance abuse and suicide. It’s important for each of us to be on the lookout for colleagues, clients, friends and family members who may be suffering and are at risk.

I first posted here on this topic back in December 2004 and gave a program in 2008 for the New York State Bar, Lawyer Assistance Program Annual Meeting. Unfortunately, it remains a major problem. I found the following disturbing statistics about lawyers in the May, 2011 issue of Psychology Today:

  • A study of more than 100 occupations found that lawyers lead the nation with the highest incidence of depression.
  • In 1996, lawyers overtook dentists as the profession with the highest rate of suicide.
  • The ABA estimates that 15-20 percent of all U.S. lawyers suffer from alcoholism or substance abuse.

These numbers are untenable and reflect a profound crisis impacting tens of thousands of people. One Legal Sanity reader is a volunteer for QuitAlcohol.com and provided a link to this top 10 list of interventionists in the USA. The American Bar Association has this great resource page for its Lawyer Assistance Programs.

Wishing you all a joyful and safe holiday season.

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    Copyright 2004-2012, Arnie Herz. Legal Sanity - by Arnie Herz, Esq.