It’s no secret that people who enter the legal profession, starting with first-year law students, are at a higher risk than the general population for mental health struggles. This can manifest in many ways, including depression and anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, and more.
In 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) joined forces with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (the nation’s largest non–profit addiction treatment provider) to conduct a study of mental health problems in the legal profession and found that:
- 28% of licensed, employed attorneys struggle with depression;
- 19% have symptoms of anxiety; and
- 21% qualify as problem drinkers.
This landmark study gave rise to a report by The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being called “The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change.” The Task Force defines “well-being” for lawyers in a multi-dimensional way, including occupationally, intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually. The report made various recommendations, including recognizing the problems we face, de-stigmatizing those problems, and taking action.
As we approach this next bar exam, if you or anyone you know needs support, here is a list of resources to get you started, by category:
Depression and Anxiety
Law School Resources
You can find additional links to resources on the ABA website.
Managing these struggles by yourself is not necessary. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you’ll return to a healthier, happier you. The last thing we at AdaptiBar want is for you to go it alone.