A Note from Assist: Lawyer Well-Being Week

May 6, 2021

The beginning of May marks the confluence of two important events. May 3-7, 2021 is Lawyer Well-Being Week as well as the Canadian Mental Health Association (CHMA)’s Mental Health Week. Lawyer Well-Being Week, also referred to as Well-Being Week in Law, is a relatively new calendar event in Canada, having originated in the U.S. It aims to help lawyers identify the different dimensions of well-being, and then engage in activities to ensure that all dimensions are reflected and are in a semblance of balance, while CMHA’s Mental Health Week’s theme is #getreal about how you feel, using the tag line “name it, don’t numb it!”

Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society has combined these two weeks into Lawyer Well-Being Week, drawing on resources from both programs.

“Well-being” is an active process, being the process we engage in, continuously if we are able, that results in the state of wellness. At some, perhaps many, times in our lives, we are well without any effort or conscious activity. However, lawyers face many challenges both occupationally and personally which can create challenges to being well. Research conducted by the Journal of Addiction Medicine indicates that lawyers encounter substance misuse and mental health issues at much higher rates than the general population. In response to these issues, a model of dimensions of well-being for lawyers was developed, recognizing that there are many aspects to our lives which must be nurtured, including intellectual, spiritual, physical, social, emotional and occupational dimensions.

As we observe Lawyer Well-Being Week, we can take a few minutes each day to consider if the dimensions of well-being are all present, and ideally in balance, in our lives. The above diagram outlines what each dimension means, with the Occupational and Intellectual dimensions combined since intellectual challenge is embedded in lawyer’s occupations. If you are interested in learning more about well-being and simple activities you can do to enhance your well-being, please visit the Assist website or call Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society.

While Assist provides professional counselling and peer support to lawyers and students (and dependent family members) who are dealing with personal issues, Assist also supports proactive well-being initiatives. Visit the Lawyers Assist website and read this blog post from Assist to learn more.