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May Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 403 LAP NOTES By Derek LaCroix, Q.C.* LAWYERS HELPING LAWYERS: A HEALTHY LEGAL COMMUNITY We live in challenging times and we work in a challenging profession. Statistics show that the distress among lawyers (addictions, depression and anxiety) is shockingly high. Often our work is solitary, requiring endless hours solving problems on our own. We are problem solvers; we help others by solving their problems and we work in an adversarial system. It is easy to get off track, to get isolated or disconnected and to try to solve our problems by ourselves. This is what we do—solve problems. Unfortunately this makes matters worse as we become more isolated and more distressed. The research shows that fear of stigma, fear of looking weak and fear of others finding out cause us to not seek help, even when we know we have a problem. I know: that happened to me, and I had to have a great deal of pain before I would seek help and take that help. I see it all the time in my clients. By the time they come for help they are truly beaten up and have put themselves through hell, unnecessarily. Help is available and, not surprisingly, the earlier you get help the faster you can recover and the more lasting the recovery. Addictions and mood disorders are not signs of weakness. In fact, the clients I see are too strong for their own good. The clients I see are smart, competent, high-end, achieving people, and usually a bit compulsive and obsessive, driven to achieve and do a good job; those are the individuals who keep pushing harder. They get off track and push harder and harder with disastrous results. Often they are lone wolves with no one to notice or to reach out to help. * Derek LaCroix, Q.C., is the executive director of the Lawyers Assistance Program of B.C.


May Advocate 2017
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