There’s been a lot written about depression and suicide in the wake of Robin Williams’ death. But nary a pixel of that coverage about depression and suicide has been devoted to lawyers’ struggles with these demons, with the notable exception of Lawyers With Depression.
The complete blind eye in the legal press about lawyers and depression mirrors the wholesale denial among most lawyers that we have a whopping problem, Houston: (Skip ahead if you know these statistics by heart.)
- 18% of lawyers exhibit signs of clinical depression, 3.6 times that of the average population;
- 25% of lawyers exhibit symptoms of anxiety, the close cousin of depression;
- 18% of lawyers who practice 2 to 20 years have substance abuse problems (nearly twice that of the average population); after 20 years of practice, the substance abuse jumps to 25% of lawyers; and
- Lawyers are 4th on the list of professions whose members are most likely to commit suicide.
Indeed, a therapist I know once told me that between the elevated depression, anxiety, and substance abuse rates among lawyers, he estimates that 80% to 90% of the profession is suffering from Continue reading