David Aronstam, Jeena Cho, Jerry Braun, William Putman and Lisa Smith. Left to right: David Aronstam, Jeena Cho, Jerry Braun, William Putman and Lisa Smith.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues in the legal profession can be paralyzing for so many of the profession’s members. Too often, stories end in tragedy. But there are stories of hope and success; examples of lawyers who have persevered with the help of their organizations and loved ones. Below are raw accounts from five such individuals who share their stories of triumph and the path they took to get there.

Despite career success, David Aronstam felt fearful of being judged and uncomfortable in his own skin—before finding treatment and beginning to help others like himself.

Jeena Cho’s work as a prosecutor and in private practice became entwined with her anxiety disorder, until a diagnosis and therapy helped her break free.

It took a doctor’s intervention and being hauled off by the county sheriff to put the Jerry Braun, co-founder of Farella Braun + Martel, on the path to recovery and to assisting other lawyers.

Alcohol and cocaine fueled the start of Lisa Smith’s career, but getting clean—and sharing her story—propelled her forward.

Bill Putman’s career ranged from the Arkansas attorney general’s office to a law firm, Walmart’s legal department and his own solo practice. For most of that time, discussing his mental health seemed off limits.

This report is part of a special project on mental health and the legal profession from Law.com: Minds over Matters.