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Morning Briefing: Winning the battle with depression

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NZ Lawyer | 15 Aug 2014, 08:05 a.m. Agree 0
One lawyer speaks of his struggle dealing with depression... Wong Partnership expands again... Canadian Bar Association wants to follow Australia's lead... and testimonials on your testimonies...
  • Graham Hill | 15 Aug 2014, 10:13 a.m. Agree 0
    Coming out with depression is extremely risky and ill advised. The profession's documented propensity to stereotyping and stigma is profound. The NZ data (2007) on mental health has a figure of 60% experience of prejudice from family friends and colleagues. The effects from stigma, one group of mental health Drs have written, can be worse than the actual illness. I was recently told of a NZ lawyer who refused to get help for being suicidal because of the fear of stigma and fear of the law society and colleagues. A legal academic has written that too any lawyers treat mental unwellness is if it were incapacity, and depression is put into the same pigeon hole. I am in the process of taking the law society and a branch to the Human Right Commission on this very issue. Depression is a human adaptive behavior to adversity and a natural incidence of life. It is correct clients will be more accepting: your colleagues and they comprise the law society won't. Openness on the issue of depression has to be met with the eradication of stereotyping stigma. Legal training gives rise to a propensity to think in polar absolutes (guilty v not guilty; sane v insane) and stereotypes.
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