June is mental health awareness month and I’m here to rave about the importance of increased awareness of this issue. For decades, mental health was not a topic openly discussed in the legal profession. When I began practicing law 20 years ago, I saw a counselor to help me process the stress and anxiety caused by my mother’s cancer diagnosis. My father, who was born in 1935, cautioned me to not let it get out at work because people might think less of me. That’s how it was when he had been working.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then. Taking steps to improve mental health should be seen as the proactive, positive step it is. It should be applauded and encouraged.
I’ve practiced many types of law over the years, but one thing is consistent: lawsuits are stressful. The end of a relationship is also stressful. When we put the two together, we call it a divorce.
If you are going through a divorce – even an amicable one – having someone you can confide in is critical. It is a major life change and taking steps to process that change in a healthy and constructive way isn’t just important – it should be a priority!
Our society trains us to not let our personal lives interfere with our professional lives. That’s not realistic. We’re not robots. We don’t turn off our personal lives the minute we enter the workplace. I am grateful to work with a team that treats its employees as family. But not everyone has that.
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, or anything else, you don’t have to go through it alone. Reach out and ask for help. It might be a close friend or family member, a pastor, or a coworker. Then make an appointment with a counselor or therapist. Don’t wait. Don’t ignore it.
If someone contacts you for help, be there for them. Asking for help takes a lot of courage and they picked you.
Remember: there is a reason each of us is on this planet – even if we aren’t sure what that reason is yet. I promise you there are people who love and care about you.
Pierce County Crisis Line – 1.800.576.7764 or text 741741
Kitsap County Crisis Line – 360.373.3425
Mason County Crisis Line – 800.270.0041
Statewide – call, text, or chat 988 (formerly National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
Veterans – 988, option 1 or text 838255
Teens – 1.866.TEENLINK
Trevor Project – 1.866.488.7386 or text 678678
National Maternal Mental Health Hotline – 1.833.9.HELPMOMS
Trans Lifeline – 1.877.565.8860