Foley’s Open Dialogue on Mental Health and the Related Stigma

24 May 2021 Foley Career Perspectives Blog
Author(s): Jen Cafferty Patton

Studies of mental health have shown that those in the legal professional are disproportionately impacted by stress, depression, and substance use.  Yet stigma prevents many people from seeking help. Consistent with our firm’s culture and core values, Foley has taken this issue to heart.  We examined our own attitudes around mental health and then endeavored to educate our attorneys and professional staff and create an environment of understanding.  We were among the first firms to sign the ABA’s Well-Being Pledge, and we established Foley’s Best Self Initiative to make each person’s humanity a topic of open and encouraged conversation within the firm.

Mental Health Awareness Month was an opportune time to prioritize our efforts to create an environment where we can talk about what matters most and ultimately eliminate the stigma that too often prevents people from seeking help. To that end, the firm hosted a series of programs in May focused on this issue.  This includes a conversation on well-being in the legal professional with Erica Grigg of the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program, a program on healthy connections by Zoë Kobrin of the Wellness Foundation, and a candid panel discussion with several of our partners on the topic of mental health in the legal profession and at Foley. In addition, Ritu Bhasin spoke with our attorneys of color on the internalization of racial bias and the unique mental health challenges faced by BIPOC people.

There is much work to be done, but we are encouraged by the open dialogue on the topic of mental health in the profession and at Foley and look forward to continuing to combat the stigma that prevents many people from seeking help.

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