Editor’s Note: Lynn Garson is the chair of the Lawyer Assistance Program of the State Bar of Georgia and a health care lawyer at BakerHostetler in Atlanta. This article reflects the author’s thoughts as a lay person, not a counselor of any type or description, and do not reflect the opinions or positions of any other person, entity, agency or publication, including without limitation the author’s employer, the State Bar of Georgia, the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism or the American Bar Association.
“Inspiration” is an odd word to see written in the same sentence as “suicide.” Nevertheless, I was inspired to write this paper by a speaker at a recent webinar on well-being in law. Asked for her proudest accomplishment since joining a big law firm as its wellness officer, the speaker pointed unequivocally to the normalization of words such as “depression,” “anxiety,” and even “suicide.” She felt strongly that if we are ever to move past the pernicious stigma attached to mental health and substance use issues, we have to be able to say the words attached to such challenges out loud, without judgment, without that little pause to check internally whether we are at risk of dropping a hot potato into the conversation.
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