Severe Mental Illness, Stigma, and the Value of Treatment
James T.R. Jones
University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
August 10, 2012
Louisville Bar Briefs, pp. 24-25, August 2012
University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper
How important an issue is mental illness for Kentucky attorneys? Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham confronted it very recently in an article published in the "News Democrat Leader". There he discussed the high suicide rate of attorneys (twice as high as the general population — with males between ages 48-65 most at risk). Of all occupational groups, lawyers have the highest rate of clinical depression. Drug and alcohol abuse are major problems. The divorce rate for attorneys is the highest of the professions. Idealistic young lawyers become burned out victims of the justice system and the general stress of the practice of law. To err may be human, but it also can spell disaster to a client’s life, liberty and/or livelihood. Constant worry and the impossible drive for perfection easily turn into mental and emotional disaster.
While not all with serious mental diseases flourish as I have done, I show what is possible when you combine hard work with excellent medical care. At least for me, treatment works. Couple that with being too stubborn to give into a psychiatric illness and you have what gets me through life as a law professor of over twenty-five years and counting. Remember my mantra: “stigma’s wrong, and treatment works!”
Number of Pages in PDF File: 3
Keywords: bipolar disorder, manic-depressive illness, schizophrenia, legal education, law and mental disability, mental health law, law professors, legal academics, Academy, mental illness, law and disability, health law, Elyn Saks, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
JEL Classification: K32, I2Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 11, 2012
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