Recently, Hazelden and the Betty Ford Foundation, and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (ABA CoLAP) published a study in the January/February 2016 Journal of Addiction Medicine entitled: “The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys.”
It has been decades since any mental health study focused strictly on the legal profession. As such, much of the prior statistics cited by Lawyers Assistance Programs were based upon studies that had long become dated.
This new study updates the statistics and underscores the stunningly high prevalence of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, stress, and co-occurring substance use disorders in the legal profession.
The study also emphasizes that in order to begin to effectively address all of the mental health issues that are tormenting so many in the profession, it is paramount to undertake aggressive educational efforts to raise awareness, promote wellness and prevention, and most important of all reduce the pervasive stigma that surrounds substance use disorders and mental health issues. JLAP will continue to provide educational articles, CLE presentations, and website information to the profession in order to meet these challenges.
It was also noted in the study that concerns about confidentiality and privacy are often significant barriers that can block an attorney from reaching out for help. As such, the study also cited the critical importance of work that JLAP and all of its volunteers do to confidentially assist professionals who suffer from mental health and substance use disorders.
You can view the report in its entirety here: The Hazleden Study Published in 2016: “The Prevalence of Attorney Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues”