In case you missed it, the Wyoming Lawyer Magazine dedicated their February 2015 issue to “Finding tranquility in a turbulent profession.” Features include:

• Addiction and Attorneys: Confronting the Denial
by Timothy D. Edwards and Gregory J. Van Rybroek

• The Lawyer’s Light: Daily Meditations for Growth and Recovery
by Kevin Chandler (reprinted from an ABA book sponsored by the ABA
Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Senior Lawyers Division)

• One Lawyer’s Journey Through Depression
by Dan T. Lukasik

• How Can the Wyoming Professional Assistance Program Help You?
by Candice Cochran

• Finding Your Way
by John Ordiway

• Stress Management for Lawyers: An Ounce of Prevention…
by Martha D. Burkett

Access the February 2015 Issue of Wyoming Lawyer from the Wyoming State Bar here.

A recent ABA Journal article discusses how stressed-out lawyers who self-medicate, instead of seeking help, could end up stealing client funds. And it becomes a pattern – the resulting theft causes shame and guilt, spiraling into more self-medicating, and so on. The article includes recent examples of cases involving theft and substance abuse.

Terry Harrell, CoLAP Chair and Executive Director of the Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, is featured in the article and discusses the important role other lawyers can play to get a colleague to seek help as well as how lawyer assistance programs are there to provide confidential assistance.

Patrick Krill is also featured. Krill is Director of the Legal Professionals Program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and notes that Hazelden Betty Ford and CoLAP are currently collaborating on a new research project to survey the rates of substance use and mental health issues among licensed attorneys throughout the United States. The results are expected to be released this summer.

Access the ABA Journal article “Lawyers who self-medicate to deal with stress sometimes steal from those they vowed to protect” here.

March 27th is Law School Mental Health and Wellness Day. Whether you are a student, student leader, faculty, staff, or health care provider working with one or more law schools, we urge you to ensure that this day and week are recognized at your law school. Below are several opportunities ready-made for you to engage your law school community:

The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has released a Toolkit providing advice and resources on numerous issues related to health and wellness.

The Dave Nee Foundation is offering a webinar on Wednesday, March 11 at 2 PM EST covering best practices for hosting events and online screenings in conjunction with Law Student Mental Health Day. Dr. Katherine Bender from the Dave Nee Foundation and Joanna Karbel from Screening for Mental Health will be providing ideas for hosting and promoting your screening, while also sharing ideas for other programs to offer during that week. Click here to register for the March 11 webinar .

Thanks to Screening for Mental Health, all law students will have access to online mental health screenings from March 22nd – April 6th. Your law school can opt in by clicking here. By opting-in, law schools will be assigned a unique URL and will be able to gain data about the students at their law school. Join the 30+ law schools who have already opted in for free access to a mood and anxiety disorder screening.

Finally, the ABA Law Student Division Mental Health Initiative offers its support and additional resources.

Please take a moment today to ensure that your law school community is engaged with one or more activities and to share what you are doing on the Facebook Community started by the Dave Nee Foundation, Law Student Commons. And Tweet your experiences at #lawstudentmentalhealthday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 | 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Suicide Safe is a new suicide prevention app developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The new tool is being debuted via a live webinar on March 11, 2015, which will include a demonstration of the app and a discussion about SAMHSA’s latest advancements in suicide prevention. At the conclusion of this webinar, webinar participants will:

(1) Gain awareness of Suicide Safe and its value to the primary care and behavioral health communities.

(2) Gain insight into how SAMHSA is contributing to the advancement of suicide prevention.

(3) Understand how primary care and behavioral health providers can use the app for guidance on how to talk with patients who exhibit suicidal ideation and/or behaviors.

(4) Understand how to access and use the various features of Suicide Safe.

(5) Obtain information on how to share Suicide Safe with colleagues.

Suicide Safe is now available for free on Apple(r) and Android(tm) mobile devices.

Learn More and Register for the Webinar here.

Thursday, April 2, 1:00-2:00pm Eastern

Substance abuse and addictions affect attorneys and their licenses. Learn how to recognize a legal professional with an impairment and the resources available to them and their colleagues. This program will examine:
• Signs and symptoms of substance use problems among legal professionals;
• Understanding addiction as an illness: the brain keeps the score;
• Treatment options;
• The interface between disciplinary action and impairment;
• Obligations to report an attorney with an impairment; and
• Lawyer Assistance Programs and how they assist attorneys and their colleagues.

Panelists include CoLAP Commission member Linda Albert and Advisory Committee member Tracy L. Kepler. Co-sponsored by the ABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division and Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP).


Suicide Outreach in Florida

Alarming national trends as well as tragic events close to home have prompted the Florida Lawyers Assistance program (FLA) to develop a new outreach program to further educate the legal community about suicide. Their goal is to raise awareness about the risk factors of suicide and the steps one can take when faced with someone who may be suicidal. The recent Florida Bar News article, “Lawyer Suicide, Finding a Ray of Sunshine through a Dark Cloud,” by Dr. Scott Weinstein, discusses the issue in more depth and provides a useful list of risk factors and guidance on responding to someone who may need help.

The ABA Law Student Division has chosen March 27th as the National Mental Health Day for law schools. On that day, law schools nationwide are encouraged to provide programming and other resources that educate students about depression and anxiety. Recently, the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP), the ABA Law Student Division, and the Dave Nee Foundation have collaborated to create the “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Toolkit for Law Students and Those Who Care About Them.” The Toolkit is an extremely helpful resource that law schools and students can use as they work to address mental health issues on March 27th and in the years to follow.



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