The Mental Health Conversation Continues

  • January 26, 2016
  • Orlando Da Silva, LSM

In the fall of 2014, when I began my term as president of the OBA, I began speaking openly about my experiences with depression and the challenges of managing good mental health alongside a career in law. The response and reaction to my disclosure was overwhelmingly positive.

The supportive community of lawyers within the OBA has been remarkable, and I am proud to stand with them as we strive to eliminate the stigma around mental health issues.

My term as president ended last August, however under the leadership of President Ed Upenieks, the OBA is keeping the conversation going. Following the success of the Opening Remarks Campaign and the Mindful Lawyer CPD Series, this February the OBA will host a complimentary member seminar, providing tactics for successful time management and self-care. Stay tuned for more programs in this series, coming this spring. Check out the upcoming issue of JUST. magazine, in which estates lawyer Kimberly Whaley demonstrates her daily exercise regimen and shares tips from her personal trainer to help you to integrate healthy habits into your daily schedule.

The conversation has spread far and wide, both within the legal profession and beyond: Leading law firms such as Gowlings, Norton Rose Fulbright and Borden Ladner Gervais have adopted various wellness programs and awareness campaigns to educate lawyers and eliminate stigma. The Canadian Bar Association has a new program, Mental Health and Wellness in the Legal Profession, designed in partnership with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and Bell Let's Talk. I had the pleasure of emceeing a Bell Let's Talk Event in Kitchener last year, and I was struck by the dozens of people willing to share their own mental health issues and how hopeful they were that open dialogue would reduce the stigma they face.

As we learn to take better care of ourselves, we learn to take better care of one another. Together, let's keep the conversation about mental health going.

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