Stat: "Our profession is at a crossroads. Our current course, one involving widespread disregard for lawyer well-being and its effects, is not sustainable… Our members suffer at alarming rates from conditions that impair our ability to function at levels compatible with high ethical standards and public expectations. Depression, anxiety, chronic stress, burnout, and substance use disorders exceed those of many other professions. We have ignored this state of affairs long enough… As a profession, we have the capacity to face these challenges and create a better future for our lawyers that is sustainable. We can do so – not in spite of – but in pursuit of the highest professional standards, business practices and ethical ideals." –
Story: "Working in a large law firm, there can be a sense that taking time off for mental health issues is inappropriate, as compared with a visible, physical illness. This pressure or guilt about needing to be away from the office, and fear that colleagues will forever judge you after time away, can be even more crippling when already dealing with a serious mental health episode or a family member’s mental illness.
When a close family member committed suicide, I was devastated. My own mental health issues became very difficult to manage, and I couldn’t focus on regular conversations let alone legal work. My firm was incredibly supportive. They didn’t question for a second my need to be away from the office. Everyone stepped in and picked up projects that I simply had to drop. They put me in touch with a grief counsellor. Their understanding and support were key in being able to manage my own health and deal with the grief and anger that go along with a loved one’s suicide.
Let’s hope that this kind of reaction of care and empathy, and recognizing the seriousness of mental health alongside other “traditional” illnesses, will become the norm not the exception."
- CBABC Member, anonymous
Conversation point: What can law firms do to support their associates?
CBA Wellness Forum: Webinar recordings on health and wellness issues impacting the legal profession in Canada, procrastination, coping with adversity in the workplace, and mentally healthy workplaces in the legal sector.
Mental Health and Wellness in the Legal Profession: Online course on mental health and wellness in the legal profession, created as a result of a partnership between the CBA, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and Bell Let’s Talk.
The Mindful Lawyer Series: Free modules for CBA members on being a happier lawyer, finding and providing support, thriving at work and achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and re-entry support after a mental health leave