Thank you to Gina Passarella, Dylan Jackson, Lizzy McLellan Ravitch and everyone on The American Lawyer editorial team for dedicating their time and resources to addressing the important issue of mental health and substance abuse issues at law firms.
More than 3,200 law firm attorneys and staff took the ALM 2021 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey, and the survey findings are not surprising but concerning. As the article notes, “In a profession that already had pain points within its bedrock causing disproportional instances of mental health struggles, even some who were thriving before have faced new challenges.”
A greater proportion of respondents reported instances of mental health troubles across the board in 2020 than when they did the survey in 2019 (and released the results in early 2020). That’s not surprising given the isolation and stress related to the pandemic.
As the study found: 37 percent of respondents said they felt depressed in 2020, an uptick of nearly 6 percentage points from last year; 71% said they have experienced anxiety, up 7 percentage points over the previous year; and 14% said they have a different mental illness, up a little over 2 percentage points.
Isolation emerged as the single-greatest negative influence on mental health on law firm professionals during the pandemic. I think we can all relate.
As May is #mentalhealthawarenessmonth, I hope you will read this article and if you are in a position of power at a law firm, please use this information to do better at your firms.
If you are someone who is struggling with a mental health issue – you’re not alone and there are resources and help out there. Check these out.