Facing Addiction in America

facing-addiction

The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health reviews what we know about substance misuse and how you can use that knowledge to address substance misuse and related consequences.

To see the full report, click here.

December 19th, 2016|

Louisiana’s JLAP in Chicago, November 10, 2016

Louisiana JLAP’s Executive Director, Buddy Stockwell, participated in a panel presentation on Ethics at the ABA’s National Conference of the 10th Annual Labor and Employment Law Section. Hundreds of lawyers from across the country attended this conference that provided programing spanning four days.

chicagoJLAP’s Executive Director, Buddy Stockwell, participated in the “Diligence verses Perfection” presentation:

Practice and Professionalism (8:00 am – 9:15 am)

Diligence vs. Perfection:  Maintaining High Ethical Standards While Avoiding Burnout (E)

Cosponsored by ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

Sheraton III

The ethical obligation of diligence requires lawyers to pursue matters “despite opposition, obstruction or personal inconvenience” to the lawyer. Many lawyers strive for more than mere diligence – they shoot for perfection. As many of us know all too well, the quest for perfection can lead to severe anxiety and depression. Some lawyers turn to harmful behaviors such as substance abuse, while others suffer mental illnesses or suffer in silence. Many simply drop out of the profession. This panel will explore practical strategies for lawyers to fulfill their professional obligations while preserving their mental health and deriving satisfaction from the practice of law.

The presentation focused on what it takes to maintain healthy boundaries between work and play and how to choose healthy coping strategies for managing stress. Moreover, the panel provided insight as to why mental health issues in the profession have now become more prevalent, why it is becoming ever more important for the profession to reduces stigmas and address these issues head-on, and how bar admissions and the public expect our profession to ensure that our members are managing the stress and pressure of practicing so as to maintain their own mental health and thus remaining fully fit to practice and not burning out.

PANELISTS (L-R):

J.E. “Buddy” Stockwell, Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, Inc., Mandeville, LA

William D. Frumkin, Frumkin & HunterLLP, White Plains, NY

Melvin S. Schwarzwald, SchwarzwaldMcNair & Fusco LLP, Cleveland, OH

Barbara J. D’Aquila, Norton Rose Fulbright, Minneapolis, MN

The program was well-attended and well-received. Several members of the audience courageously participated in the discussions and thus the group enjoyed being able to openly discuss some of the everyday mental health issues that come with practicing law, such as stress, anxiety and frustrations that come with being an imperfect human being working in a profession that is intensely perfectionistic by nature.

Real solutions were also explored such as better mental health and self-care habits, setting boundaries, managing client expectations, and exploring new solutions for anxiety reduction such as meditation. The audience was also invited to visit www.louisianajlap.com for self-tests and additional information on managing anxiety and burnout. JLAP also provided handouts on developing resiliency and improving one’s ability to manage the stress of practicing law.

Direct feedback after the presentation included:

“This presentation made the whole conference for me. It was the most important presentation in my view.”

“As young lawyers, this presentation was extremely valuable. We need all the support we can get when it comes to learning how to deal with the stress of becoming a lawyer, and we learned things here that we had not yet heard from anyone. Thank you!”    

Louisiana JLAP was very grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a prestigious national conference and greatly appreciates the efforts of the ABA in producing such a fabulous seminar.

November 11th, 2016|

Buffalo lawyer brings depression out of the darkness

You get to be 40 and you figure you’ve outrun your past.

A father who used booze to drown stresses endured in the Pacific during World War II, who was tough on his five kids and died at age 56, when you were just 19.

A mother who spent far too many days on the couch in front of the TV, eating to comfort her own sorrows.

Grow up in such circumstances and you learn to push through adversity, maybe go to college, get a good job, start a family.

Read more here.

November 1st, 2016|

September is National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

Read more here.

August 29th, 2016|

Soberlink Receives FDA Clearance for Medical Use

Soberlink has received 510(k) premarket clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medical use by healthcare providers to remotely measure alcohol in human breath, for the purpose of aiding in the detection and monitoring of alcohol consumption. Read more.

August 26th, 2016|

New Hazleden Study on Mental Health in the Legal Profession

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”

March 10th, 2016|

New Law Changes Name of the Lawyer’s Assistance Program, Inc., to the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, Inc.

JUNE 5, 2015
La. R.S. 37:221 has been amended as follows, effective August 1, 2015:
ACT 59 (HB 197) 2015 Regular Session Shadoin

Mark Suprenant, Rob Shadoin, Judge ??, Buddy Stockwell, and Mark Cunningham at the State Capitol

(L-R) Mark Suprenant, Rob Shadoin, Hon. Benjamin Jones, 4th JDC (Retired), Buddy Stockwell, and Mark Cunningham. Appearance at 2015 Legislative Session in support of the amendment of La. R.S. 37:221.

Prior law provided for the Lawyer’s Assistance Program to encourage the successful treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction among the judiciary, members of the La. State Bar Association, law students, and prospective law students. New law changes the name of the Lawyer’s Assistance Program, Inc., to the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, Inc. and expands the directive of the program to include counseling and intervention services for judges, lawyers, law students, and other members of the legal profession who may suffer from mental health issues. Existing law provides that any information, report, or record that the Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse of the La State Bar Association, Lawyer’s Assistance Program, Inc., or any member, or employee, or agent of either generates or gathers is confidential and privileged, and that no member of the Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, or agent, or employee of Lawyer’s Assistance Program, Inc., may disclose that information, report or record without written approval of the subject judge, lawyer, law student, or prospective lawyer. Existing law provides immunity from liability for any licensed lawyer, and his supporting staff, resulting from any act made in good faith while engaged in efforts to assist judges, lawyers, law students, or prospective lawyers in connection with substance abuse counseling or intervention pursuant to the programs of the La. State Bar Association. New law extends the application of these privileges and immunities to the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, Inc. to also include mental health issues.

Effective August 1, 2015.

(Amends R.S. 37:221(A), (B)(1) and (2), and (C)(1) and (2))

August 9th, 2015|