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Friday, September 11, 2020

After more than five months of dealing with the changes, disappointments, limitations, and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, all of us are experiencing more stress and anxiety in our professional and personal lives than perhaps ever before. Practicing law is a difficult and demanding occupation in its own right; when the complexities of living through a pandemic are added to the mix, there is a real potential for ourselves and our colleagues at the bar to suffer more from anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug problems, and burnout. Left unaddressed, these troubles will detrimentally impact our personal lives, our families, and our ability to represent clients and serve the justice system.

There are resources available to help you weather the storm and build resilience in the process. The State Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) is a place to start. The program maintains a comprehensive list of resources on topics from “Stress, Anxiety, Grief & Resilience During the Public Health Crisis” to “Staying Busy and Healthy while Social Distancing.” Check out the Resource Guide and the Mental and Emotional Well-Being Toolkit

Sidebar is the e-newsletter of the LAP. The most frequently visited Sidebar articles on coping during COVID-19 have been compiled. Take a break from your commitments to read an article.

The LAP also has licensed counselors who provide counseling, crisis management, intervention assistance, assessments, referrals to outside resources (such as therapists and treatment centers), long-term aftercare case management and follow up, on-going support, or just a safe space to discuss your issues. Contact the LAP today.

Self-care is critical to our well-being and to our competency as lawyers. We must also remember our responsibilities to our colleagues at the bar. If you know a lawyer who is struggling, please direct the lawyer to the resources mentioned above and, if appropriate, contact the LAP to give an anonymous and confidential referral. 

Our excellent North Carolina professional associations, including the NC Bar Association and the NC Advocates for Justice, also have resources to help their members during this uniquely challenging time. Check out the Bar Association’s resource page and its BarCARES program; and the Advocates’ resource page. Laura Mahr’s website, Conscious Legal Minds, also has resources available. Finally, the CDC’s website page on coping with job stress and building resilience during COVID-19 is also helpful.

Stay safe and take care of your health, including your mental health.

Alice Neece Mine
Executive Director

Filed Under: General News

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