Embracing Emotional Well-Being

by Bianca Motley Broom

 

I’ve never called the national suicide hotline number, but it’s programmed into my phone. (1-800-327-9631)

 

If someone is in need, I will be ready. Split seconds can make a difference between life and death. In the moment where clarity is lost and ending one’s life seems like the only option, having another person to talk to can change everything. I have known colleagues and friends who have died from suicide. It does not discriminate – especially in the legal profession.

 

By now, you may know some of the staggering statistics: more than a third of lawyers can be classified as problem drinkers; over a quarter deal with symptoms of depression. [1]  In a study of suicide by occupation, lawyers ranked #8. [2] Even as we tout a level of invincibility to clients, opposing counsel and the court, statistics don’t lie.

 

As this inaugural Lawyer Well-Being Week comes to a close, make sure you are ensuring your own well-being by exercising, becoming a better practitioner of mindfulness and finding a hobby you love. But don’t stop there. I implore you to reach out to someone else. Isolation and depression can be compounded in times like these. Touch base with a former colleague or law school classmate who has been on your mind recently. Your call could be the one that gives someone a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal period.

 

Also, consider spending a day becoming certified in Mental Health First Aid. Just as CPR training gives people skills in situations of physical crisis, Mental Health First Aid gives participants the tools to provide initial help and support to those who are experiencing a mental health emergency. Millions of people from all walks of life have become certified and their training has not only saved lives, but it has also worked to help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness. Participants learn to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis and how to respond until professional help can arrive. I used the training almost as soon as I was certified, and it impacts my thinking and approach to situations on a regular basis. While we are often at odds with one another professionally, none of us want to see a colleague suffer. Our responsibility should not just to be to uphold the ideals of the profession but to uplift each other as well.

 

[1] Krill et al., 2016; Mental Health Daily Report of Suicide by Occupation.

[2] Id.

 

 

About Bianca Motley Broom 

 

Bianca Motley Broom, Esq.Mayor Bianca Motley Broom has been a full-time mediator at Miles since 2017.  She is a registered arbitrator, civil mediator and domestic relations mediator in Georgia. View Bianca’s bio and online scheduling calendar.