Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Expert Opinion / Your mind matters to the MCBA | MCBA President’s Message

Your mind matters to the MCBA | MCBA President’s Message

Langston McFadden

As this month is Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to share some of the resources and programs that the MCBA offers to help lawyers in need. As you’ll see, several of these resources are offered at no charge thanks to the support of U.S. District Court of WNY, the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, and our tireless, dedicated volunteers along with other sponsors, organizations, and vendors who work with us to create a healthier MCBA and legal community.

  1. FREE Confidential Counseling. For lawyers or judges struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions, the MCBA offers FREE and CONFIDENTIAL counseling through Tree of Hope (TOH), a local collaborative network of private practitioners offering individual, group and family therapy and psychiatry services.  The MCBA and TOH have a dedicated helpline that any lawyer or judge may call for help with a wide range of areas. Any call will be returned by a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) within 24 hours. The LCSW will help the attorney or judge during the call and, if needed, refer the attorney or judge for additional assistance to the most appropriate therapist at TOH. The MCBA will pay for the call, as well as up to four follow-up visits with a TOH counselor. TOH maintains the strictest confidentiality, with the MCBA not being told the name of the lawyer or judge seeking assistance. The Tree of Hope Confidential Counseling Helpline is: 585-353-1541.
  2. Virtual Wellness & Connections Group. Facilitated by Bradley Kammholz and Kara Juszczak at Tree of Hope Counseling, the Virtual Wellness & Connections Group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 5 p.m. The chats are informal and friendly. Contact Brad Kammholz at [email protected] for more information about the next chat. All chats are hosted on the Zoom platform.
  3. Cassandra Rich

    Cassandra Rich

    Assistance with Alcohol/Substance Addiction: Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCFL) provides a safe environment for legal or judicial professionals suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and for family members concerned about their loved ones. Members of the committee assist attorneys and judges and/or family members and colleagues affected by these diseases, referring those in need to competent professional help and self-help support groups. Help includes everything from going with the lawyer or judge to an AA meeting to helping the lawyer with his/her practice.  Help can be accessed 24 hours/7 days a week through the confidential LCFL Helpline at (585) 234-1950. All communication with the committee is confidential and privileged pursuant to the Judiciary Law § 499.

  1. SOLACE (Support Of Lawyers, All Concern Encouraged). Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines solace as: “…to give comfort in grief or misfortune,” and that’s exactly what SOLACE, a program sponsored by the MCBA, aims to do.  The primary focus of SOLACE is engaging the legal profession’s vast networks of contacts to assist others when a sudden need arises. SOLACE is a simple email-based network of people who are willing to tap their contacts to assist someone else in need. It is designed to assist any lawyer, judge, law firm, courthouse or bar association employee, or other member of the legal community and their families, within the MCBA geographical territory who suffers a loss or develops a particular need because of a sudden catastrophic event, injury, or illness. If you need SOLACE’s help, please send an email to [email protected].
  2. Health & Well-Being Programs & Events. Thanks to a small but mighty group of dedicated volunteers, the MCBA offers a variety of wellness programs and events through its Health & Well-Being Programming Committee, led by Kim Duguay. Each month this group meets to plan regular activities, such as wellness walks, public market meetups, yoga sessions, kayaking, nutrition programs, and even CLE programs. These activities are open to all members of the legal community and are often at no charge. Please keep an eye on the MCBA events calendar for all activities. If you’re interested in getting involved in the committee, please reach out to Liz Novak Henderson at [email protected].
  3. Wellness Matters Listserv. The MCBA offers a Wellness Matters listserv to all MCBA members who are interested. Through this listserv, the MCBA shares information about upcoming activities, wellness tips, and more. If you’re interested in joining the listserv, please contact Liz Novak Henderson at [email protected].

The MCBA is committed to the health and wellness of its members and all members of the legal community. Remember, we’re in this together and everyone can use help now and again. Please reach out if you have a need or want to get involved.  If you see a friend or colleague struggling, remind them that resources are available! Let’s continue to take care of each other.

Langston McFadden is MCBA President. Cassandra Rich is MCBA President-elect.