C. Barrett Thomas 2015-10-26 11:10:51
See the Struggle and Help Not too long ago, I was a first-year law student and single father. When I had my twin five-year-olds every other week, it was a total whirlwind. There were times when I couldn’t find childcare and I had to take them to class with me. I remember one of those days in particular. Running late, I raced through the law school with the boys in tow. My face clearly showed concern that either my sons or myself would be kicked out of school by the day’s end. Most students noticed my struggle as we hurried down the hall. Yet, only one offered to help. His name was Myron May. We were casual acquaintances with several mutual friends. I knew him to be a kind, soft-spoken, and intelligent guy. Years passed and Myron and I went our different ways. We would chat on email or Facebook now and then, and I talked to him on the phone in March 2014. He seemed happy and supportive of my Texas Young Lawyers Association president-elect campaign. The next time I heard about Myron was November 21, 2014. I got a text from my brother: “Did you know this shooter at Florida State?” I turned on the news, and I can safely say it was one of the most shocking moments of my life. I was instantly overwhelmed with sadness and disappointment. Sadness, because I knew how genuine and caring Myron was—how smart and capable. I felt sad that the world would not benefit from everything that he had to offer. I was sad, too, for the people who were affected by his actions. I also felt disappointed because I had not recognized that he was sick in such an unimaginable way. I did not recognize his struggle, and I had not helped. Since then, I have lost three other attorney friends to psychological disability and/or chemical dependency. Some I knew were struggling, while others’ plights were as surprising as Myron’s. The truth about Myron is that many people I know did try very hard to help him. Unfortunately, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers out there who are going it alone. They hurt and feel that nobody cares. It is our duty to help our fellow lawyers and their clients. That is why TYLA is joining State Bar of Texas President Allan K. DuBois this year in his campaign to increase awareness of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program. We are doing that in two ways. First, we are asking you to please donate to the Sheeran-Crowley Memorial Trust, which provides financial help to Texas attorneys who need treatment for substance abuse, depression, and other mental health issues and don’t have the means to pay for these services. Even $10 at texasbar.com/sheeran-crowleytrust/donate will make a difference. During the holidays, we will host the first Local Affiliate TLAP Challenge, an endeavor to encourage all young lawyer local affiliates and local bar associations to collect as much money as possible and make a combined donation in December. Second, under the direction of TYLA District 15 Director Sara Giddings, we are joining with the State Bar to host several Breaking the Silence discussions across the state. The program will raise awareness and teach lawyers how to identify and assist fellow attorneys with psychological issues and/or chemical dependency. Please join us in these two critical initiatives. Let’s show them that we see their struggle and will help. C. BARRETT THOMAS President, Texas Young Lawyers Association
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