Archive for September, 2009
Recently I started asking folks at seminars what they wanted to hear about most, and almost without exception they, both paralegals and attorneys, said “mental health issues” or “how to deal with adversity”. I think this actually represents real progress in the mental health struggle for when I began these programs several years ago, lots of attorneys were resistant to the Bar’s decision to require one hour of mental health or substance abuse study every three years. Indeed, even today, states to the north and south of us, Virginia and South Carolina, do not have such a requirement.
Now, I am not naive about this. I know and understand that many attorneys would not voluntarily choose to take a course in either mental health or substance abuse, but the fact remains that once they are there, they seem to enjoy it and hopefully learn something. What they learn most, at least from me, is that it is helpful to let others know of the difficulties they or their friends or families may be having. At least they begin to realize they are not alone; that there are others just like them or worse.
This is the way to lessen the stigma of mental health, so that those who suffer from clinical depression, can feel free to get the help they need without being hesitant to do so. It is through education that people can learn to get better and not to judge other people who suffer from some form of mental illness.
One of the most popular courses at Harvard is an undergraduate class in happiness that is taught within the Psychology Department. I have just finished developing a new one hour seminar, that I hope will be available soon, that is titled “Living your Life in Technicolor and not in Black and White”. I will keep you posted.