Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy: Mental Health Awareness in the Legal Profession
Duration: 66 minutes
Just a few days before her 47th birthday on July 19, 2013, Cheryl Hannah, a celebrated lawyer and Vermont Law School professor, sat down with us to record a CLE on the Equal Pay Act. Just over a year later and days after her 48th birthday, news broke that she’d taken her own life. For us, Cheryl’s death brought home to roost something we’d been hearing about in the legal profession for years: the increased rate of severe depression and suicide among legal professionals.
According to the Dave Nee Foundation, lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population. They are, in fact, the most frequently depressed profession in the US. One reason we suspect that rate is so very high among legal professional is that many are fearful of the stigma of mental illness and wait far too long to seek help—if they do seek help at all. And of course, that leads to increased incidents of substance abuse. But we wondered, is there something more that is unique to the legal profession that generates such an outcome?
Spurred on by Cheryl’s struggle, we sought out an expert on mental health in the legal profession. We found Will Meyerhofer, a big law associate turned therapist, whose unique perspective from both sides of the coin will help us answer those questions. Will has organized this program around four learning objectives:
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