Study Says Lawyers Have Worst Mental Health Amongst All Professions
Summary: Lawyers are reportedly the most depressed professionals.
If you’ve ever felt like the living embodiment of a poop emoji without the smile, then you’re not alone. An Australian study has found that lawyers have the worst mental health amongst all white collar professions, according to CBS.
A Psychsafe study found that lawyers have the worst psychological and psychosomatic wellbeing among all professionals. Additionally and not surprisingly, attorneys also smoked cigarettes and drank the pain away by abusing alcohol. They were twice as likely to be alcoholics as other occupations.
The study examined more than 800 professionals, and this included 370 lawyers who work in-house, in the government, and in firms of various sizes.
The study found that lawyers were also exposed to toxic people who ruined their day with things like “interpersonal deviance, verbal abuse, work obstruction, emotional neglect, bullying via destabilisation, overwork, isolation and sexual harassment,” The Global Legal Post said. Researchers found the main perpetrators of bullying were men who targeted women or those underneath them.
SA Law Society president David Caruso said that lawyers in small firms often have no one in the organization to talk to about their caseloads or stresssful environments, and that people no matter the size of their firm are usually scared to admit they suffer from depression or other mental illnesses.
The study calls for human resource departments to better monitor their employees’ attitudes and mental health, not just their work performance. Lead author Dr. Michalak said that firms need to focus on prevention, not just what to do once they attorney has hit rock bottom.
“From a risk perspective, it’s after the fact – much like relying on a fire blanket, rather than preventing the fire in the first place,” Dr. Michalak said to CBS. “We seriously need to step away from the resilience cookie jar and move towards primary prevention strategies to address causes of poor mental health and wellbeing, which include work environment factors.”
Attorney Terry McCabe echoed the researchers’ sentiment, stating that if firms do not acknowledge this crisis, they will continue to lose quality talent.
“We need to acknowledge we are human beings before we are lawyers,” McCabe said. “If we don’t, we are going to continue to lose good people from the profession.”