Last year we published a similar blog post with a list of mental health resources for lawyers. This year, we feel the need is even greater as many of us will be celebrating the holidays a little differently, some of us alone, and some of us without members of our extended families. Lawyers may also be stressed with a year end surge of work or stressed due to a downturn in work this year. The struggle is real after an already hard year.
We all know it is important that lawyers focus on our mental health. Often we let work take priority over our physical and mental health. Let's try to stop that.
There are several resources available to lawyers who wish to make their mental health a priority:
1. The Law Society of Ontario’s Member Assistance Program (MAP)
The MAP is a confidential service funded by (but fully independent of) the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) and LawPro. The MAP is provided by Homewood Health and provides secure telephone access to counselling, coaching, online resources and peer volunteers. Members can get professional help with issues related to addictions, mental or physical health, work-life balance, career, family and more. This program is open to lawyers, paralegals, law students or paralegal students. Similar lawyer assistance programs can be found in each province.
2. Your Employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
If you are employed by a law firm or you are in-house or work for the government, your employer likely has an EAP that you can access as well. An EAP is similar to the MAP discussed above but is provided by your firm/company.
3. The Canadian Bar Association’s Wellness Subcommittee
This committee exists to help legal professionals manage personal, emotional, health and wellness challenges. Their website provides several resources including a free online course: “Mental Health and Wellness in the Legal Profession”.
4. The LSO’s Coach and Advisor Network (CAN)
While the CAN does not provide counselling or therapy, it provides an opportunity to reach out to Coaches or Advisors who are practicing lawyers and paralegals. Sometimes stress can be alleviated by simply talking through a legal issue with another lawyer. An “Advisor” provides a one-off 30-minute phone call to deal with substantive law or procedure in the context of a particular client file. Being paired with a “Coach” is a longer commitment (approx. three months) that deals with assistance with practice management systems or skills development. This program is free. See our blog post on this service here.
5. PracticePro by LawPro
PracticePro is an online source that provides risk management, claims prevention and law practice management information to Ontario Lawyers. They have a section on Wellness and Balance that provides some helpful information.
6. The Ontario Bar Association’s Mindful Lawyer CPD Series
The OBA has archived videos that are complimentary for OBA members focusing on mental wellness. There are over 20 different videos with helpful topics ranging from: "Adjusting to a New Normal: How to Manage Stress and Anxiety" and “Re-Setting Your Priorities: How Can You Be a Happier Lawyer?” to “Support Networks for Lawyers Who Work Alone” and “Avoid Burnout: Train for Resilience”.
7. Lawyers with Depression – Blog
This is a blog by an American attorney, Dan Lukasik (and guest authors) to help law students, lawyers, and judges cope with and heal from depression.
8. Federation of Law Associations - Mental Health Resources
FOLA has a resource page with resources for lawyers from across the country.
9. Flex Legal Network
Yes, we can be a resource as well for lawyers struggling this season. If you are a lawyer who is overwhelmed with work, consider outsourcing some of your tasks to our qualified freelance lawyers. Most of our work is litigation based (although we do assist with some corporate work as well). In particular we can assist with drafting, legal research, court appearances, etc. For more information see How We Help, our Services page and our FAQs.
We also prepared a blog miniseries addressing mental wellness called “Balancing the Bar” that features three mini-mental-workouts: Mindful Breathing; Managing Stress by Expanding Your Vision; and Transform Tension.
We hope this blog post helps and if you know of any other resources we should add, please reach out: email@example.com