Chronic depression is a serious mental health issue and unfortunately has shown to be very prevalent in the legal field. A recent study shows that 28% of licensed attorneys are suffering from depression, which is more than 3 times higher than people employed in other professions. Nearly everyone suffers from down days, grief and loss, and sadness. Chronic depression is pervasive and longer lasting, it impacts the quality of daily life. Depression doesn't always appear as terrible sadness or blue moods. It manifests itself in many different forms such as anxiety, general apathy, guilt, reckless behavior, hopelessness, sleep disturbances, excessive hunger or lack of appetite, lack of concentration, lack of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies, isolation, agitation, and suicidal thoughts. Depressed people usually state that they feel empty and dulled, and have given up hope or care for most things and activities that interested them previously. Often these feelings of hopelessness are overwhelming and feel permanent. A person suffering with depression may appear to be just going through the motions of daily life or may withdrawal completely. Seeking help may feel like too much to manage, but untreated depression can ruin relationships, careers, derail life plans and in some cases result in suicide. If you're suffering from depression, it's okay to ask for help. It's difficult to do, but there are resources that can help you manage your condition. The LAP can help find those resources for you in your area. 800.255.0569. If you know someone who you think is depressed, stay in contact with them. Show up, offer to listen and to help with whatever they need. Being a support for a person suffering from depression can be frustrating. It's difficult to not say, "Snap out of it." Those words do not help, but being patient, allowing the person to express what they're feeling and letting them know you're there for them is important.
If you've contemplated suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255 The Lifeline is staffed 24/7 with caring professionals whose only job is to be there to help you. Let them help. You're not alone.
If you're concerned about someone's safety because they've told you about their plans for suicide or have expressed similar statements, call 911. The police and a local mental health crisis team will be able to help. If you can't take action, have questions about what to do or are not sure, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.They will help you. See the article below regarding how to respond to a friend or colleague that talks about wanting to end their life.
Stop a Suicide: Learn to Act
Depression: Supporting a Family Member or Friend
Lawyers Weigh In: Why is There a Depression Epidemic in the Profession
One Lawyer Living and Working with Depression
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues
Breakfast or a Bullet
Mental Health Challenges for Lawyers
President's Message: Lawyers and Depression