Brilliant session chaired by Gina Passarella (ALM Media), Carrier Marker (Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP), Noah Heller (Katten Munchin Rosenman) and Jospeh Milowic III (Quinn Emaniel Urquhart & Sullivan).
Joseph told a very open story about his experiences with ill-mental health and how he has adapted to manage. As a successful lawyer himself he is certainly well placed to help individual lawyers and firms change for the better. His key tips for lawyers today is to be able to say no to your boss and society whilst also holding true values (his are love, family and connectivity) and to look after yourself.
Noah, as CEO of Katten, explains that his management ethos is to empower his team and that there is nothing more important than making their people feel meaningful and supported.
In order to help drive education and communication across the firm (not just the lawyers), Katten have a 24 person national wellness community. This helps drive the message across the firm.
This really demonstrates the need to have all levels of stakeholders addressing the subject. It is also likely that your more junior members of the team will be better connected internally to drive some of this change (informal networks twice as influential as hierarchy).
Carrier supported this, she explained that developing the correct language and communication is crucial to market this successful internally.
Whilst the topic of ill-mental health can often be reactive, we all have mental health and Noah raised the point that we should be thinking about this we are well. I heard a great quote yesterday saying that we should 'curl the brain' (exercise the brain!). Prevention has also been seen to provide a huge ROI too as the Thriving at Work, Farmer Stevenson report found (here).
These sessions with people like Jospeh telling their story and business leaders like Noah supporting is crucial to removing any stigma and preventing others from suffering.
In the UK there is the InsideOut Leaderboard setup by Rob Stephenson showcasing stories of those who have had ill mental health. This is another great way to communicate and I would recommend taking a look (here).
It is also worth taking a look at Joseph's project 'The Lawyers Depression Project' for those in need of support here in New York.