Self-assessment for lawyers: do I need help?
Lawyers are used to helping others with their problems. This can lead to viewing others – not ourselves – as the people with the problems. But lawyers are actually more likely than the population average to experience addiction or suffer from mental illness.
Many worry that there is a potent stigma attached to being a lawyer who “needs help.” But before dismissing the possibility that you could use a little support, consider that wellness (mental or physical) is not a yes/no state, it’s a continuum. Nearly everybody can improve his or her quality of life. No lawyer would think twice about seeking professional advice for a sore shoulder or knee: many non-physical issues can be of the same scale and equally susceptible to help if addressed early.
The following exercise1 can help you, on an informal basis, identify some threats to your wellbeing. To complete it, place a checkmark next to the options that apply to you in each column below. A check in a “red zone” suggests that you would benefit from the assistance of a counselor, family doctor, or mental health specialist.
Checkmarks in the “yellow zone” represent areas of your life in which you may be at risk. If these problems persist or worsen, they could lead to a mental health crisis, job loss, relationship problems, and malpractice claims, among other consequences.
While this self-assessment can help you begin the process, there are many other resources available that provide for more detailed self-analysis. As a first step toward improving your quality of life, why not review the free resources offered by the lawyer Member Assistance Program (MAP) to explore new ways to tackle the challenges in your life? See the links on the image below (click to enlarge it) for more help, or make an appointment to talk with your family doctor.
This exercise is in no way meant to replace professional analysis and advice. Readers should consult their own accredited health advisor(s) before taking any action based on the results of this exercise.