In support of the well-being of lawyers across the professional spectrum—from students in the classroom to attorneys in all walks of legal life—we have launched a Mental Health Impact Blog Series, in partnership with alumnus Jim Warner ’92. Comprising deeply personal essays by community members who have struggled with mental health issues, the series provides restorative insights and resources to fellow lawyers in need. Read them all here.
The Mental Health Impact Blog Series coincides with a Law School-wide initiative, which will include lectures and workshops to support and promote mental well-being. To get involved in the activities or to write a guest post, contact email@example.com.
Please be advised that the following post discusses depression and thoughts of suicide. If you need help, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is now reachable nationwide by dialing 988, or visit them online.
During my first year of law school, I seriously considered taking my own life. It was a case of classic depression. There was no great nexus event to cause me to feel that way. It was simply the anxiety of being in a new situation, mixed with sleep deprivation and too much caffeine that created a chemical storm in my body. The reason I did not go through with my plan is that someone convinced me to get help. The thing is, I didn’t look like someone who needed help – at least not by law school standards. I looked tired and withdrawn, but so did most people.
Fortunately, one of the reasons I went to law school was because I wanted to be an ambassador for mental health. As such, I had been very open about my mental health struggles. My openness about my needs and triggers allowed my friends to realize I needed help. I say this because highly intellectualized, ambitious individuals are very good at hiding their emotional distress — particularly in situations where they feel like they won’t be well received. This puts them at a higher risk of not only experiencing suicidal ideations, but also being more likely to successfully carry out an act.
If we are serious about reducing the number of suicide-related deaths in the United States, especially amongst high achievers, we need to normalize speaking about mental health in an everyday setting. We need to move away from looking at mental health as something discussed in yearly seminars or when someone is having a crisis. It needs to be incorporated into our culture to check in with everyone, because life is stressful for everyone.
We in the legal field fall into so many unhealthy habits. Let’s make a concentrated effort to implement one healthy one: regular mental health check-ins with ourselves and others. If you learn to speak about your feelings and listen to other people’s feelings in the calm, you’ll know what to do in the storm.
Christina Green is an Assistant District Attorney at Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, a 2020 graduate of BC Law, and a former Impact blogger.
SERVICES AND RESOURCES
This blog series is meant to shine a light on the often hidden epidemic of mental health struggles felt by so many in the legal profession and beyond, and to share personal stories and insights into recovery. It is not meant to provide professional advice or counseling. If you are struggling, below is a list of resources you may find helpful. If you are in crisis and this is an emergency, please call 911.
For a list of services offered to students, faculty and staff through the University and the Law School, visit https://www.bc.edu/content/bc-web/schools/law/sites/students/community/health-and-wellness.html
Individual counseling and psychotherapy consultations are available at BC Law (Alumni House, Room 112). Call 617-552-3310 and ask for an appointment with the Newton Campus clinician. Law students may also meet with any of the clinicians at University Counseling Services main campus location at Gasson Hall Suite 001 (140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467). Students can schedule an appointment at the main campus location by calling 617-552-3310 or visiting Gasson Hall Suite 001. Interactive campus map
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc. (LCL) (31 Milk Street, Suite 810, Boston, MA; (617) 482-9600; helpline: (800) 525-0210; https://www.lclma.org/) is a confidential counseling and referral resource for lawyers and current law students. LCL offers help for alcohol and drug abuse, stress, depression, work, family, marital issues, mental health and other personal issues.