It’s something that still happens far too often: a lawyer, a judge, a law student dies by suicide. You may be privately grieving, but as a leader of the bar, should you publicly do anything?
The reality is that suicide is an epidemic in the legal profession. Research published earlier this year, titled “Stressed, Lonely, and Overcommitted: Predictors of Lawyer Suicide Risk” put into focus the dire reality of the problem. Surveying 2,000 lawyers within the D.C. Bar and California Lawyers Association, researchers found that lawyers are twice as likely to experience suicidal ideation than the public. Lawyers with high stress were 22 times more likely to contemplate suicide, and a considerable proportion of lawyers who contemplated suicide said that working in the legal profession was detrimental to their mental health.
Bar leaders can play a pivotal role in reducing stigma, raising awareness of mental health resources, and setting an example for the legal community.
Whether your legal community has experienced the death of a member by suicide, or you want to start a conversation within your bar, here are a few tips: