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Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers.

The purpose of the Standing Committee on Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers is to implement the 2018-19 Florida Bar Strategic Plan priority that focuses on the mental health and wellness of Florida lawyers. The committee is continuing the work of the Special Committee on Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers, including:

* An educational component to destigmatize mental illness in the legal community;

* Educating employers, judges, and lawyers how to identify and address mental health illness of Florida lawyers and create "best practices" on how to address mental health issues;

* Educating lawyers about the benefits of balancing personal life and career obligations;

Provided health and wellness programs to provide Florida lawyers with healthy strategies to deal with the pressures of their practices to enhance the mental health and wellness of Florida lawyers;

* Educating voluntary bar associations on mental health and wellness programs so they may better assist their members at the local level;

* Expanding the accreditation definition so as to broaden the scope of what constitutes and health and wellness CLE program;

* Developing new and innovative CLEs on mental health and wellness issues; Interfaced with Florida Lawyer's Assistance, Inc., to broaden their reach to all members, not limited to those members facing Bar grievance issues; and

* Creating a special, interdisciplinary committee to study and improve The Florida Bar's rules and programming related to mental health and wellness of Florida lawyers and ensuring that Bar members (including judges) are aware of mental health issues and can access those needed services.

The committee had three meetings this year and formed four subcommittees to better focus the work of the committee: Continuing Legal Education; Member Benefits & RFI Review; Outreach to Law Schools; and Communication and Outreach to Voluntary Bar Associations.

* Accomplishments * Created a new page on The Florida Bar website for all resources and member benefits associated with mental health and wellness.

* Produced a free two-hour CLE for the 2018 Florida Bar Annual Convention Presidential Showcase: Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers.

* Sponsored the CLE webinar "The Highly Energized, Engaged, and Effective Attorney," presented by Amy Wood.

* Sponsored the CLE webinar, "Law and the Good Life" presented by Amy Wood.

* Added two new member benefits related to mental health and wellness: Wellbeing Coaches allows members to work with a certified coach in partnership with HMC HealthWorks to develop a personalized program to achieve health and wellness goals for both mind and body; and eVideo Counselor offers private sessions face-to-face via video or chat on a computer, tablet, or mobile device with a licensed counselor.

* Media presence created to promote mental health and wellness as a strategic priority of The Florida Bar with relevant social media postings, and traditional media, including the placement of editorials in major newspapers on this issue and multiple segments on Florida Bar TV.

* Two members of the special committee were certified in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to evaluate the program for wider dissemination to all Florida Bar members.

* Mental Health First Aid CLE was approved as an eight-hour certification course.

* The University of Florida Law School hosted a very successful Mental Health Day for the students. Committee member Carl Schwait reached out to all Florida law schools to address mental health and wellness of law students.

* Designation of May as Health and Wellness Month by joining with the YLD and assisting in profiles and programming for the month.

* Committee Chair Dori Foster-Morales participated in the ABA Working Group to Advance the Well-Being of Legal Profession, including the drafting of an Impairment Policy to disseminate to members.

* Challenges and Items in Progress --A request for information for a new 24/7 mental health hotline/helpline for both crisis intervention and resources went out. Three responses have been received. The committee needs to evaluate the responses that have been received. Additionally, the committee needs to add additional member benefits in the area of mental health and wellness.

Thank you to my fellow committee members for their contributions this year: Vice Chair Carl Schwait, BOG Liaison Wayne La Rue-Smith, Judge Susan Bedinghaus, Nora Bergman, Bruce Blitman, Richard B. Bush, Mandi Ballard Clay, Alexcia Cox, Dr. Kristie Deblasio, Benjamin Gibson, Judge William Matthewman, Judge Nushin Sayfie, Alexandra Echsner-Rasmussen, Michael Pike, Joshua Spector, Jane Springer, and our staff liaison, Christine Bilbrey.

Dori Foster-Morales, Chair
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Title Annotation:Annual Reports of Committees of the Florida Bar: 2018-2019
Author:Foster-Morales, Dori
Publication:Florida Bar Journal
Date:May 1, 2019
Words:714
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