Burnout, Depression CLE Topics

A look at burnout and depression and its impact on a law practice is the topic of a Continuing Legal Education seminar on April 25.
The free 18th annual seminar begins at 9 a.m. at the Tulsa County Bar Association, 1446 South Boston Ave.
Registrations must be received by Wednesday, April 23. Late registrants and walk-ins will be charged $20.
Speakers include Eric Hipple, former Detroit Lions starting quarterback, James Webb, Oklahoma City attorney with McAfee and Taft, Mark Leventhal, Washington D.C. attorney turned exercise coach and speaker, Ted Sherwood, speaking on the importance of Focus Groups and Practice Juries to help prepare for trial, and Sara Jane Gillette and Trent Gudgel, Hall Estill, E-Discovery, Part 1.
The seminar, presented in conjunction with the Mental Health Association in Tulsa, will take a deeper look mental health issues in Tulsa, according to Karen LaPlante, director of education and communication.
Hipple, now University of Michigan Depression Center outreach coordinator, will speak from person experiences on depression, specifically focusing on warning signs, treatment options and overcoming fears about seeking help.
Webb will discuss burnout while Leventhal will discuss the importance of a healthier lifestyle including being at a healthy weight.
Hipple also will speak at a free public forum at 6 p.m. April 24 at the Cascia Hall Performing Arts Center.
He will be paired with Becky Dixon, host of the Oklahoman Series and former co-host of Wild World of Sports. The format will be a dialogue on stage and will be open to questions from the audience.
One of the goals for the Mental Health Association in bringing Hipple to Tulsa is to underscore that depression and thoughts about suicide can happen to anyone. Here is a prominent sports figure that had to deal with these issues. It is important to break down the barrier so professional people understand they also are vulnerable.
‘‘We want to educate the public about this issue that has such a dramatic impact on the family, the community and beyond,’’ she continued. Hipple frequently travels away from the university setting to talk to people. He especially wants to talk to students and encourages them to get help.
Unfortunately, LaPlante said, many people, especially men don’t think they are impacted by depression — that it can’t happen to them. Hipple will tell about his personal bouts with depression and how he turned around. He also will speak about a personal experience because his teenage son committed suicide and the related trauma dealing with that loss.
Webb, whose story about burnout and can be viewed in the Wall Street Journal, will focus more specifically on the legal profession.
Both men will explore the stigma attached with depression, she said. That is one of the biggest hurdles people have. Without treatment, it has the same impact that diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases requiring therapy.
People don’t understand that depression is not only biological based disorder or that with proper treatment, they can live a very beautiful life.
The stigma attached to mental health is one of the biggest hurdles mental health people face in getting people to go for treatment, LaPlante continued. Recognizing signs can make the difference because depression can be triggered is so many different ways. Triggers include job loss, extreme stress and sometimes it can be the result of heredity.
‘‘There are more than 700 seats in the Cascia Hall Center and I would love to see it completely filled,’’ LaPlante continued. ‘‘For us, it is about providing an opportunity for education and meeting a need in the community. There really is some very important information.’’
The mental health issue is very serious in Tulsa, she said. Statistically, one in four Oklahomans will be faced with these issues during a given year. Depressive disorders tend to be about more than 9 percent of the population. It’s a big deal. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. It impacts people on a personal level and has a huge impact on the economy in terms of loss of productivity and lost days at work.
Someone struggling with mental health quite often has periods of forgetfulness, periods where they tend to be very tired, lose a lot of sleep, so it is easy to see how it can impact the bottom line as well.
When someone is struggling with mental health issues, even safety related issues, can become a key issue.
The good news is that mental health issues are very treatable.
Awareness is the first step, looking for signs and symptoms, LaPlante said. In addition to the forgetfulness and sleep problems, people can eat poorly or overeat. People tend to go from one extreme or another. It’s kind of a brain fog when people have a hard time pulling things together.
Physical symptoms such as aches and pains can occur because of depression. Maybe stomach problems occur that are attributed to an ulcer, that really are symptoms of depression, the same with back problems and bad headaches.
‘‘We all have seen commercials saying ‘‘depression hurts.’’
It truly does. Depression truly can have serious manifestations.
Family members can detect warning signs by being aware of big changes in someone’s mood, their energy level lags and truly not enjoying things they used to.
If someone starts talking about being down or hurting themselves, these can be warning signs.
On the positive side, getting people help can begin by encouraging them to talk to their doctor, reading about tools available on line and utilizing the Mental Health Assistance Center.
Free information and free information is available and screenings can be scheduled. Referrals also can be made.
The first step is identifying what is going on. From that point there are things that individuals can do that is helpful. Sometimes doctors will prescribe medication. Talk therapy also can be prescribed. Sometimes it is a combination that will work best with each other.
Individuals can help themselves by doing simple things like making certain they are getting enough rest, eating a good, healthy diet including healthy greens and proteins and essentially taking good care of themselves.
Coming off the winter, people sometimes struggle seasonally with depression because of short days, darkness and lack of sunlight. Take a walk around the block.
LaPlante can be reached at 585-1213

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