Tom Vick 2017-12-20 04:30:11
TAKE CARE IN THE NEW YEAR T he winter months come with warm holidays full of family and friends for most, but for some, they also come with increased stress, depression, financial worries, and anxiety about the future. While many are reveling, some of us are struggling. The 2016 study by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs told us that 28 percent of attorneys report some level of depression, while 19 percent report symptoms of anxiety and 11 percent have had suicidal thoughts at some point in their careers. Chances are that if this doesn’t describe you, it describes one or more of your co-workers who were at your office parties and social gatherings. Know that help is out there. And with the start of the new year, now is the perfect time to renew our focus on our well-being. If the above does describe you, please reach out to our amazing and 100 percent confidential Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program at (800) 343-8527 (TLAP). You can also call on behalf of a colleague about whom you are concerned and the staff will confidentially reach out to the person. TLAP, online at tlaphelps.org, has a wealth of assistance not just to address substance use and abuse, but also to help with stress, anxiety, depression, suicide prevention, and overall wellness. You do not need to be in a crisis to take advantage of these wellness offerings. Our own TLAP Director Bree Buchanan is co-chair of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, which in 2017 created the groundbreaking report The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change. While the report addressed some serious and troubling levels of substance use and mental health diagnoses found in the legal profession, it offered concrete examples of steps that lawyers, law firms, bar associations, law schools, and the overall legal community can take to dedicate ourselves to a proper path for wellness, which includes a healthy work-life balance. One of the recommendations is that we communicate that well-being is a priority. We all have many stressors in our lives, whether it’s a client, a case, a project, or a professional commitment, and we can lose sight of the forest for the trees. Your health, our collective health and well-being, is of paramount importance. To see clearly, think clearly, help our families and our loved ones, perform to our full potential at work, and serve this profession to our fullest, we must focus on our well-being. In this new year, let’s recommit to taking care of ourselves and each other. TOM VICK President, State Bar of Texas
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