May is YLD Health & Wellness Month

The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division is highlighting May as Health and Wellness Month for all members of The Florida Bar.  We are focusing on our ongoing #StigmaFreeYLD campaign and other efforts to combat the stigma of seeking mental health treatment.  Additionally, we are addressing the growing challenges of being happy in a stressful profession. Take a look at the latest YLD Newsletter to read my column on this important effort and its impact.

The #StigmaFreeYLD program is designed to help extinguish the prejudices that discourage lawyers from admitting problems or seeking help. Already, four videos with successful attorneys sharing their stories on issues such as bipolar disorder, extreme stress and anxiety, grief, drug and alcohol abuse have caught the attention of thousands of Florida attorneys. If you haven’t seen these videos yet, please take some time this month to view them at More videos will be released in May. You can also read blog posts and articles from YLD members on mental health here.

Here are some of the other activities the YLD has planned for Health & Wellness Month:

  • The first annual Affiliate Health & Wellness Challenge, where local young lawyer groups are encouraged to host fitness challenges, classes, and other wellness-related activities. The YLD will support these efforts by providing up to $500 in grant money for each affiliate to use for related events.
  • Profiles of law firms, judges, and lawyers to highlight what they do to take care of themselves or to promote attorney well-being.
  • Free wellness webinars each Wednesday between 12-1 p.m. for CLE credit.
    • May 1 CLE: Practicing Law and Good Mental Health: You Can Have Both
    • May 8 CLE: Stress and Your Health: 5 Steps to Achieve Body and Mind Fitness
    • May 15 CLE: Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma in the Lives of Lawyers
    • May 22 CLE: The Real Fight: Achieving Mental Awareness Through Training
    • May 29 CLE: Spirituality for Lawyers: A Game Plan for a Profession that is Silently Suffering
  • Promotion of Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., which provides programs and services to assist legal professionals with mental health or addiction issues, through social media posts, the #StigmaFreeYLD campaign, website, and other avenues.

In addition, we surveyed YLD members on their mental health as law students and young lawyers. The results confirm The Florida Bar is on the right track in making mental health and wellness a top priority and that we need to continue the conversation. After identifying some common themes in the survey results, we’ll next focus on training on responding to unprofessional behavior in the workplace, as well as CLEs to assist managers and partners on ways to de-stress the workplace among other efforts.  You can read the full survey results here.

This Florida Bar News article provides more information on the survey results and plans for the future, and lists free resources – also available on our website — including sites with online screening, help finding a therapist who specializes in specific needs, and much more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and use #StigmaFreeYLD to join the conversation.

If our profession is going to improve its overall mental health and happiness, it needs to start with each of us. Professionally, you don’t always have to be “nice,” but kindness and empathy are invaluable to your well-being as well as to others’ well-being. Please help by simply being more thoughtful in your professional actions and words. Together we can make the profession more pleasant and, in doing so, we can support each other on our overall mental health.

Christian George
2018-19 President
The Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar