Toronto, ON – The Ontario Bar Association (OBA), representing more than 16,000 lawyers working in the province, is launching a specialized program to provide unique mental health supports to its members.
The initiative is designed to address the unique concerns of lawyers and is inspired by the leadership of its President Orlando Da Silva, Counsel with the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Civil Crown Law Office, who has been speaking publicly about his personal struggles with depression since he assumed his presidency with the association last August.
“From my own personal experiences, I know how difficult it can be to speak up and seek help,” said the OBA President.
Under Da Silva’s leadership, the OBA has taken on a mandate to help Ontario’s legal community better understand and manage mental health challenges.
The OBA initiative, Opening Remarks, starts a conversation that will encourage a more public dialogue about mental health within the legal community. The OBA wants to offer the support of its community of lawyers, promote awareness of the range of services available, and give lawyers skills and information to avoid negative triggers.
“Legal professionals often work on difficult cases, carry stressful workloads and run the risk of believing that the stigma of mental health challenges could hurt their career,” said Dr. Molyn Leszcz, Professor and Chair (Interim) at the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatrist-in -Chief at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. “This initiative importantly addresses mental health in the workplace and will surely be highly valued.”
“When I became President of the OBA, I saw an enormous opportunity to speak up and do something to help others in the legal community,” said Da Silva. “We want the legal community to start talking about these issues and to be more comfortable discussing them. This program is about doing some good for the legal community and beyond.”
For more information about the OBA’s Opening Remarks, visit: oba.org/OpeningRemarks.
Established in 1907, the OBA is the largest voluntary legal association in Ontario and represents over 16,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The OBA provides continuing professional development and advocates for improvements to the law in the interests of the profession and public.
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