Lawyers and Suicide

According to CNN and studies from all over the country, Lawyers rank 4th highest in professionals who commit suicide. This research has verified that suicide among male lawyers is almost three times more common than it is with men in the general population. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 84 people commit suicide every day, and about 2,000 attempt it. Among these statistics, are many lawyers with families who do not suspect a thing.

Suicidal thoughts in a lawyer often develop over time. It happens because stress breeds depression, and when depression goes untreated for too long, it can damage the brain and leave a feeling of emptiness and worthlessness. Practicing law is an attractive job to workaholics, but they often tend to burn out. Another issue is the stigma of lawyers, the position of power, and the assumption that they are rich; partners make a good, healthy income. However, making partner or climbing out of the lower-end of the lawyer pay scale can take a long time and it is a very stressful, daunting process. Many lawyers lose themselves during this time.

Many of the family members and friends of the lawyers who have passed away mentioned that they had no idea this was coming. In some situations, the lawyers appeared to be on the mend, exercising every day, maintaining healthy relationships. The pressure became to be too much.

Unfortunately, lawyer suicide numbers are climbing steadily. It’s not an isolated incident; the job is literally killing people. If there is a lawyer in your life, keep an eye on him. Obviously not every lawyer is suicidal, so you do not want to be overprotective, just be aware of the common signs of suicide in lawyers.

Emotions: If he starts becoming angry and raging over things that do not normally bother him, that could be a big sign that there is turmoil inside. Also, look for mood swings, or statements like “what’s the point” and “feeling trapped”.

Behavior: If he stops seeing friends or starts indulging in mood-altering party favors like alcohol or drugs, that’s another clue that something isn’t quite right. He may also participate in impulsive, reckless activities.

Effort: A major sign that was present in many of the previous cases is the lawyer’s clientele. Many of the lawyers failed to show up and represent their clients, and some never answered calls. This is a big sign of the lawyer hiding from the world and his problems. This is one of the last things a person does before completely giving up.

If you notice any of these symptoms or characteristics in someone you love, contact professional help immediately. This goes for anyone in a highly stressful work environment, including lawyers, surgeons, and college professors.