Welcome to the post-pandemic world, where stressors were exposed and amplified, and as a result mental healthcare is a hot topic. As highlighted in the Attorney Credits’ CLE course When Enough Isn’t Enough: Eating, Sex and Exercise Disorders by Brian Quinn, Esq., the very traits that make lawyers and judges great can also manifest into unhealthy habits.

Mental illness in law careers

Working in a demanding, high-performing job is tough. It impacts our mental and physical health, as well as our personal lives. It’s not unusual to push ourselves until the breaking point, but what if you didn’t have to? How can you perform cleaner, smoother, happier, healthier – long-term?

This fascinating one-hour course delves into how to recognize some of the most common mental illnesses associated with law professionals, the discrete and confidential resources available 24/7, and even several tips to help you right now. Don’t jeopardize the future you worked SO hard for by neglecting simple, regular self-care.

What are common mental illness symptoms?

If you often identify with the following traits, it might be a good time to check in with yourself:

  • Highly stressed
  • Lack of control or “control freak”
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Often angry
  • Perfectionist/overachiever
  • Overuse of binary thinking (win/lose, good/bad)

Mental illness is not a weakness or a life-choice – it’s an illness that often convinces you that you are in control when you are not. Many symptoms of mental illness are often difficult to spot – obsession over nutrition, feelings of guilt or shame, low self-esteem, impulsive behavior, poor decision-making, difficulties concentrating, or extreme mood swings. Most of these symptoms are often easily rationalized and ignored. That’s why it’s so important to remain vigilant.

Are mental health services for lawyers and judges confidential?

Made some less-than-ethical decisions? Worried someone will find out you’re seeking help? You’re covered. Attorney health resource models contain exceptions to duty to report. As Brian states in his course, “the rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6 or information gained by a lawyer or judge while participating in an approved lawyers assistance program.” Sometimes lawyers and judges get ill, and these programs allow you to seek assistance without compromising yourself or reputation.

What are some mental illness warning signs?

When does mental illness become problematic? Here are some more or less obvious wakeup calls:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Trouble at work
  • Financial strain
  • Trouble establishing and maintaining healthy/important relationships
  • Conflicts/withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Secret behavior
  • Increased injury
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Criminal involvement

If one or more of these warning signs describe you, don’t panic. Get the ball rolling in the right direction and ask for help. Law mental health professionals are especially trained to help restore the careers and health of law professionals (and family members).

What are some mental health tips I can do right now?

Right now is the time to start prioritizing mental health. Don’t wait for self-destructive patterns to spiral out of control. Guilt produces short term motivation and exhausts us. Whereas regularly practicing even small healthy habits leads to results.

Here are some tips Brian recommends to get you started right now:

* 3 deep breaths

* Mindfulness

* Healthy routines

If you are driven to achieve, I challenge you to pursue long-term success by checking in with yourself and mitigating your personal challenges now – not later. And no matter where you are on this journey, there is ALWAYS help available to you. Want to be better? Work better? Live better? Here’s your chance.

You can watch Brian Quinn’s CLE course, When Enough Isn’t Enough: Eating, Sex and Exercise Disorders, online at Attorney Credits. Log in or sign up to get started!