Lawyers and Vicarious Trauma

We recently wrote about the declaration of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week. Lawyers as a group are notorious for ignoring mental wellness and self care. I came across this opinion piece titled “A more inclusive discussion on the impact of trauma on lawyers’ mental health is needed“, published in Canadian Lawyer Magazine, and thought it was a good way to continue the conversation. It was written by Crystal Tomasiuk, Crown counsel with B.C. Prosecution Services, and discusses the vicarious trauma lawyers deal with in their practice. Having sat in on a couple of criminal trials, I have wondered how lawyers deal with the sometimes horrific facts and scenes they are exposed to.

Vicarious trauma can affect those of any background. As important as it is to recognize our collective vulnerability in this way,  more is needed for a truly inclusive and trauma-informed approach. In particular, we need to face the prevalence of trauma in our society and explicitly address the fact that many of us come to the practice of law having already experienced significant trauma that may shape how our mental health is impacted by the pressures of the profession.

If you feel you’re suffering from vicarious trauma, or just the stress of the profession, the Law Society of Manitoba’s Health and Wellness program offers a free and confidential service for you and your family.

Mental Health Week

The Canadian Mental Health Associations Mental Health Week is May 6 – 12, 2019.

Mental health is a state of well-being, and we all have it. We might have a mental illness, and we might not. Either way, we can all feel well. We can all have good mental health. It is about having a sense of purpose, strong relationships, feeling connected to our communities, knowing who we are, coping with stress and enjoying life. And it’s never too early or too late to get there. But it’s not just about what you do for yourself, by yourself—everyone needs healthy and supportive places to work, live and learn.

– Canadian Mental Health Association

Mental health affects all of us in one way or another, whether it’s ourselves, friends and family or a client. We have put together a few resources to help you navigate mental health for yourself, a loved one or a client.

Featured in the Display

In the Library:

  • You are not Alone : The Lawyer’s Guide to Anxiety / The Law Society of Manitoba Education and Competence Department
  • Slaying the Demons of Anxiety and Stress for Improved Health and Wealth / The Law Society of Manitoba Education and Competence Department

desLibris (Behind the Law Society of Manitoba Member’s Portal):

Online Resources:

Lexis Advance Quicklaw:

  • Halsbury’s Laws of Canada – Mental Health (2015 Reissue)
  • Halsbury’s Laws of Canada – Public Health (2014 Reissue)

Newsletters*:

  • LexisNexis Health Law NetLetter

Wesbites:

Lawyers Health and Wellness Program:

The Lawyers Health and Wellness Program (LHWP) is a free and confidential service for practising lawyers in Manitoba and their families. It offers help with:

  • Stress
  • Addictions
  • Psychological Disorders
  • Family and Parenting
  • Relationships
  • Emotional/Behavioural
  • Financial Crisis

LHWP offers crisis-intervention and assessment, short-term counselling services to a maximum of twelve sessions per family per year, and appropriate referrals. Visit The Law Society of Manitoba for more information.

*Newsletter distribution service is only offered to members of the Law Society of Manitoba.