September is a month of transition. It is the month when school starts in earnest (because, let’s face it, no one ever does anything the last two weeks of August). It is the month where those of us who love autumn decide to will it into being, regardless of 100 degree temperatures or friends bemoaning the loss of sunlight. For the sports enthusiasts, it is the start to the season of the sport we in the States refer to as “football” and the rest of us call “an extra reason to be outdoors” or “that thing after the tailgate”.
A few years back, I also learned that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. In the not too distant past, we in the practice of law tended to be “aware” of suicide in the same way we tend to “aware” of mental health or “aware” of riparian water rights: it is something that we had to learn about at some point, but considered it unlikely to directly affect us. However, as we transition into a greater understanding, we find that suicide ideation is part of the mental health issues we are learning to address in the practice of law.
The 2022 Mental Health Survey by Law.com and ALM Intelligence found that close to one out of five surveyed lawyers and staffers contemplated suicide at some point in their professional careers. That is one out of five of your colleagues; one of out of the five people who tells you about their kids’ school plans, who delights in autumn weather and changing leaves with you, or roots for your favorite team.
While we move forward to address mental health concerns before they hit a crisis point, we still acknowledge that crises do happen and those persons in crisis may need immediate assistance. So as we transition into better well being for everyone in practice, if you are finding your path too hard, please reach out for any and all help you need, through one of these resources, your local bar association, or any resource that may help you in your time of need.