September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month and Lawyers are helping Lawyers

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month— Suicide is not a very pleasant topic to discuss but a topic that is unfortunately all too common.  More and more professionals are turning to an end as a solution to their problems. I am referring to the trend of attorneys committing suicide. I am sure that there are many people that are taking their lives but just recently there has been an upsurge of attorneys specifically across the US. One example is a Miami Native named Ervin Gonzalez. He was a Civil Trial attorney found dead in his Coral Gables home on June 8, 2017.  Because of cases like this there are a great many resources being made available to legal professionals so that they can address any signs or symptoms that they might be feeling before it is too late.

Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. (FLA) offers assistance to judges, lawyers and law students who are facing alcohol and drug abuse problems, compulsive gambling, stress, depression, other types of addictive disorders, and similar conditions that may affect the ability of these individuals to practice in a competent and professional manner their legal profession. FLA was created in 1986 to assist the recovery of lawyers and professionals affected by addiction and to deal with their disabilities. FLA staff and volunteers know the issues facing affected lawyers and how to help overcome these problems. Due to the sensitive nature of addiction and psychological problems, lawyers who may need help are often very reluctant to seek such help. Recognizing this concern and fostering early and confidential contact with the FLA, the Florida Supreme Court through Rule 2-9.11 authorized the creation of a program to assist Florida Bar members affected by substance abuse or psychological problems and approved Rule 3-7.1 (0) which provides that any treatment provided to a troubled lawyer shall be considered confidential and may not be admitted as evidence in any disciplinary proceeding. The backbone of the FLA is comprised of a network of licensed mental health professionals throughout the state of Florida who work with individuals struggling with psychological problems and deterioration caused by other conditions along with more than 300 lawyers who are recovering from drug addiction and alcohol addiction who volunteer to help their peers in all areas of their recovery.




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