THE ADVOCATE 77
VOL. 76 PART 1 JANUARY 2018
By Derek LaCroix, Q.C.*
LAPBC IS HERE TO HELP
There are times in life, usually times of crisis, when a friendly face is welcomed
with relief and gratitude. Sometimes it is the face of someone we
know personally who is willing to do what she or he can to comfort and console
us. Sometimes it is the face of someone whose familiarity with crises
and expertise in such situations are much needed and appreciated. The
Lawyers Assistance Program of British Columbia (“LAPBC”) is the friendly
face that is not there to judge, only to help.
When the person in crisis is a lawyer, the situation can be made more
complex because of the position of authority maintained by lawyers in our
society and the enormous responsibility that lawyers are asked to carry—
for themselves, their partners, coworkers, employees, clients, friends and
family. What happens when a lawyer can no longer shoulder that burden?
What happens when a lawyer’s ability to practise law begins to suffer?
An important resource available to struggling lawyers is LAPBC. Briefly
put, LAPBC is a coordinated program consisting of trained professionals
and volunteers committed to assisting members of the legal community
who are suffering distress from mental or physical conditions.
Depression. LAPBC helps lawyers address problems involving mental
health. Any of a variety of mental health challenges may confront lawyers,
but the one most frequently encountered at LAPBC is depression.
Research has shown that approximately fifteen per cent of lawyers will
encounter some form of depression during their careers. Although many of
those suffering from alcohol and/or drug abuse also experience some form
* Derek LaCroix, Q.C., is the executive director of the Lawyers Assistance Program, a position he has held since 1996.