From the YLD President, 1221 GABJ, GSB Vol. 27, No. 3, Pg. 10

PositionVol. 27 3 Pg. 10

From the YLD President

No. Vol. 27 No. 3 Pg. 10

Georgia Bar Journal

December, 2021

It's OK Not to Be OK


On a Sunday afternoon in late October, I laced up my running shoes, hopped on my Peloton Tread and took one of my favorite instructor's (Selena Samuela) World Mental Health Day Run. I had recently gotten back in town after a five-day work conference in Boston and my stress and anxiety were at an all-time high as I tried to work my way through a mountain of missed emails and upcoming deadlines. Running has always been my outlet and a quick run usually does wonders for my overall attitude, especially when the right music is involved. I do not know if it was the perfectly curated playlist, the instructor's raw and heart wrenching revelation about her partner's suicide, or a combination of both, that led to one of the most cathartic workouts I have ever had. The tears started to flow, and I gave myself permission to completely let go and unload all the negative energy that had been building up that week, month and year.

As we are about to enter the two-year mark since our world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, it should come as no surprise that the pandemic has been associated with an array of mental health challenges. While people of all ages have experienced an increase in post-pandemic mental illness, our younger population has proven especially vulnerable. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 62.9% of young adults between 18 and 24 years old reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, the highest among all age groups.1

The practice of law is stressful and young lawyers often face unique stressors that our more experienced counterparts may not. As I began brainstorming ideas for this article, I interviewed several young lawyers spanning various areas of practice and levels of experience and split them into groups for questioning purposes. In one group, I asked each lawyer to describe the legal profession in one word. In the other, I asked what they viewed as the best and worst parts of practicing law. I had three goals for these interviews: (1) to identify common themes; (2) to spread awareness of the challenges young lawyers face on a daily basis; and (3) to show our young lawyers that they are not alone, that we are all in this together, and simply put, that it is OK not to be OK.

While some had upbeat and encouraging...

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