March 25, 2021 Mental Health & Wellness

Avoiding the Traumatic Potential of COVID-19

Looking for trigger points and seeking assistance may quell uncertain seas.

By Joseph P. Beckman

As lawyers, we are problem solvers. We are driven. We are overachievers. We find answers where others see ambiguity. That does not make us immune from the sort of physical and emotional ravages that have accompanied the worldwide spread of COVID-19. A presentation at the ABA Litigation Section’s first ever Virtual Section Annual Conference, however, offered some guidance for these turbulent times.

Lawyers are problem solvers—that does not make us immune from the physical and emotional ravages that have accompanied the pandemic.

Lawyers are problem solvers—that does not make us immune from the physical and emotional ravages that have accompanied the pandemic.

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The presentation, which fits squarely into my “beat” as this publication’s “lawyer mental health” writer, was “Coping as a Lawyer and Helping Colleagues Through the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The session was led by Diana Uchiyama, JD, PsyD, CAADC, and executive director of the Illinois Lawyers’​ Assistance Program, and moderated by Ruth A. Bahe-Jachna, Chicago, IL, managing director of the Section of Litigation.

Uchiyama spoke frankly about the changes her office has seen since COVID-19 began to sweep across the country in mid-March. She then offered advice about how lawyers might practice enhanced self-care, suggestions for how to be more attuned to signs of distress from colleagues, and how to help a struggling colleague.

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