Florida BarBoard Approves the Creation of a Mental Health Helpline

March 26, 20200
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Florida Bar members would get free access to a confidential, 24-hour mental health helpline, possibly this summer, under a contract approved March 20 by the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee met via conference call to consider a host of agenda items from a Board of Governors meeting that was cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

The Program Evaluation Committee, also meeting via conference call, voted unanimously the day before to approve the helpline proposal.

“The Program Evaluation Committee thought this was an extraordinary benefit for our members,” Chair Scott Westheimer told fellow Executive Committee members.

The idea originated with the Special Committee on the Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers, and was first suggested in 2017 by its chair, President-elect Dori Foster-Morales. The special committee was appointed by former President Michael Higer in the wake of the suicides of prominent South Florida lawyers and ABA studies that showed the legal profession was at increased risk of substance abuse and other mental-health issues.

“The unanimity of the vote yesterday [by the PEC] obviously speaks a lot,” Foster-Morales told the Executive Committee.

 

The Program Evaluation Committee thought this was an extraordinary benefit for our members

Scott Westheimer

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Holly Clark

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