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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 6, 202011:37 AM EST

Florida Bar opens helpline for lawyers

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Counselors available 24/7 for COVID-19 issues.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Florida Bar is providing a new member benefit and moved up the launch by two months to help lawyers deal with stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The confidential Florida Lawyers Helpline is a 24/7 free service for Bar members who are feeling overwhelmed. It is provided through an agreement with CorpCare Associates Inc., which has more than 200 professional counselors in Florida.

The service enables Florida lawyers to speak with counselors about marriage and family issues, medical and stress issues and substance abuse problems.

“It is clear that our members, like all of society, are facing an epic moment of collective crisis,” said Florida Bar President-elect Dori Foster-Morales, in a news release.

“We are here to serve our members in whatever way we can, and we hope that activating this new helpline quickly will provide the assistance lawyers need when so much of our lives has been turned upside down,” Foster-Morales said.

In addition to immediate counseling, the helpline can refer Bar members for up to three free sessions a year with a licensed mental-health professional via phone or virtual video service to ensure members’ physical well-being with appropriate social distancing. Calls to the helpline are unlimited; the in-person sessions will be offered as an option when offices are cleared to reopen.

Counselors also can assist with other situations Bar members might face during or after the pandemic, such as providing a case manager to help find long-term care facilities for family members or financial consulting to help members with debt management, budgeting and retirement planning.

Mental-health professionals are seeing heightened levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness during the pandemic. Studies by the American Bar Association indicate that those practicing law experience higher risks for depression and substance abuse than the general population, making members of The Florida Bar even more susceptible to potential problems brought on during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Florida Bar members may reach the helpline by calling (833) 351-9355.

 

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