Nate Hibben Torrington, Wyoming Dear Editor: I write to thank the Wyoming Lawyer for its continued efforts in supporting attorney wellness. The suicide of a friend and colleague, as described in Mark Gifford’s column in the October issue, is heartbreaking. Sadly, many of us likely know others who are struggling with substance abuse or depression. As a community of Wyoming attorneys, we must commit to supporting struggling colleagues, just as we would expect a colleague to support us. The WyLAP program is a great resource, as are the numerous clinics and counselors in our local communities. Please reach out to those resources—and let’s all reach out to our colleagues if we see a need. Collin Hopkins Lander, Wyoming Dear Editor: A friend lost a friend to suicide recently, and it prompted me to think about what causes one to get to the point of suicide, to decide that a “permanent solution” is best for a “temporary problem.” The truth is, there are lots of reasons. But what folks are failing to see is there are solutions. It has been said that “fear should be classed with stealing; it certainly causes more problems.” Isn’t that the truth? Fear will rob us of everything if we let it. Fear of financial insecurity, or the fear of losing a loved one to this career are tops on the list for lawyers. And that fear steals from us. It steals time, it steals attention from families, it steals happiness. It can steal our soul. This fear leads to depression, substance abuse and suicide. But there is help! I know because I’ve found it. So I beg all of you who read this who feel that fear, or the beginning of that fear (and this takes some soul-searching honesty, not just a glossing over) to reach out for help. The Wyoming Lawyer Assistance Program (WyLAP) wants to help. All calls are confidential and the people that make up this program have nothing but a sincere desire to help those who need it. I want to close this letter with a bit of an admonition. Fear does all the things I’ve set forth above, but our ego lets it! The hardest thing for a lawyer is to admit defeat, but again, if you are reading this and struggling in the least, put that damn ego aside and pick up the phone. Sometimes we have to surrender to win, though we almost never see it. This time your life might depend on it. And even if you cannot see that it matters right now, somebody does. Your family cares, your partners and colleagues care, and the folks at WyLAP certainly care. Every life is worth living, and we want to help you see that. The phone number for WyLAP is 307-996-6834. Chris Leigh Jackson, Wyoming Dear Editor: I hope all my fellow Bar members read Mark Gifford’s article reliving his personal experience with the tragic loss of his former classmate and long time friend. Suicide and depression are dark evils that we as successful professionals don’t want to acknowledge, let alone discuss. Our profession breeds pressure to succeed, and failure can lead to depression for some and, on occasion, suicide. Our years of training and experience result in excellent masking skills of outward signs and the ability to internally compartmentalize thoughts and feelings. In short, the Wyoming Bar has the WyLAP program, a supportive program for attorneys who need assistance, be it alcohol, substance abuse or mental health issues. In addition, Bar Counsel is willing to offer assistance to those who reach out for help or even just to figure out how to take a “time out” without leaving clients in the Wyoming wind. Do you have an opinion you would like to share in the Wyoming Lawyer? The Wyoming Lawyer is pleased to provide a forum for members to voice their opinions. Letters to the editor should be limited to 300 words. Unsigned letters will not be published. Please submit letters to the editor to Sharon Wilkinson at email@example.com. All letters are subject to editing.
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