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Law Practice Today

May 2024

Feeling Overwhelmed, Stressed, or Exhausted? How to Get Help Now

LP Well-Being Committee


  • Lawyers and other legal professionals have significantly higher rates of mental health issues than the general population.
  • Asking for help if you are experiencing mental health issues is not a sign of weakness.
Feeling Overwhelmed, Stressed, or Exhausted? How to Get Help Now

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It is not news that lawyers and other legal professionals have significantly higher rates of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and stress, when compared to the overall population. Lawyers, mental health professionals, and others focused on well-being in the legal profession are spending substantial time, energy, and money looking for ways to turn this around for the profession as a whole, and it is important that this work continues.

This article, however, is intended to provide resources for someone going through a mental health crisis now (or thinks they might be). The recent suicide of a partner at a major United Kingdom law firm should ring alarm bells for anyone feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or overstressed. If this feels familiar to you, please get help now.

Warning Signs: If you, or someone you know, are experiencing the following, please seek help immediately (see American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website,

  • If you, or someone you know, talks about:
    • Physically harming themselves
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Having no reason to live
    • Being a burden to others
    • Feeling trapped
    • Unbearable pain
  • If you, or someone you know, engages in any of the following behaviors:
    • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
    • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for suicide methods
    • Withdrawing from activities
    • Isolating from family and friends
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
    • Giving away prized possessions
    • Aggression
    • Fatigue
  • If you, or someone you know, often feels:
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Loss of interest
    • Irritability
    • Humiliation/shame
    • Agitation/anger
    • Relief/sudden improvement

Where to go for help

Here are some of the national resources available. You may have resources that are closer to home, too, including through work or your local bar association. If you don’t think you can wait to find a therapist or other help, please take advantage of the resources below to help you bridge the gap. The important thing is to get help now.

  • Call or text 988. 988 is the nationwide Suicide & Crisis Lifeline; help is available confidentially by call, text, or chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s the equivalent of calling 911 for yourself. Learn more about the Lifeline, or start a chat session, at
  • Lawyer Assistance Programs. The ABA lists all contact information for each state’s or province’s Lawyer Assistance Programs. Judges, lawyers, and law students who need help are encouraged to reach out to their state or province LAP. These are typically confidential programs.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline. This helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (800) 487-4889. The Helpline will provide confidential referrals to local resources. SAMHSA also has an online treatment locator for mental and substance abuse help.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous. AA has thousands of meetings and has helped millions of alcoholics and addicts for more than 80 years. The website ( offers literature and can help you find local resources.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline. This hotline can help if you have experienced a natural or manmade disaster. The Disaster Distress Helpline will provide immediate, confidential crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call or text (800) 985-5990.
  • Employee Assistance Programs. EAPs, offered by many employers, offer services such as free counseling and education on stress, burnout, financial management, debt recovery, and managing family obligation. Check your benefits package to determine what is available to you and how to access it.

As lawyers and legal professionals, we are taught that mistakes are not acceptable and that we should be able to work through any stressful situation. This is simply not true, and it is important for you to give yourself permission to not be okay and to seek help. It is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is a sign of strength to get help when you need it. Use this resource guide proactively to help yourself be a better and healthier person and legal professional.