One association recognized well before the global pandemic that its members needed resources to help them manage stress, depression, and other mental health issues. Then COVID-19 hit, and the online resource became timelier than they ever anticipated.
The Legal Marketing Association, which supports the marketing and business development arm of the legal profession, has long understood that their members need resources to manage stress, work-life balance, and mental health issues brought on by the inherent pressures of the legal profession. A 2016 report by the American Bar Association and the Betty Ford-Hazelton Foundation that showed high rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse among lawyers spurred them to action.
“It was becoming a silent issue facing the entire legal community,” said LMA executive director Danielle Holland. LMA leadership realized that if these issues were a problem for lawyers in firms, they must also be affecting the rest of the professionals working in that culture.
Last year, LMA’s leadership team came together and engaged the organization’s membership to create an online Well-Being Resource Center that would help its members feel “safe, engaged, and healthy,” Holland said. LMA also surveyed members to assess their mental health needs so the organization could make sure it was providing the most relevant resources.
Just in Time for COVID-19
Holland said LMA had no idea how necessary—and timely—the Well-Being Resource Center would be once COVID-19 hit shortly after its launch. They moved quickly to update the resource center with information “front and center” on how to manage stress and anxiety during the pandemic.
LMA also hosted webinars covering general well-being and mental health but also provided tips for managing the stress of working from home, including how to maintain boundaries between work and home life and how to have well-being check-ins. (A recent Associations Now article delved into eight ways to manage stress while working remotely and noted that self-care is key.)
Starting a Well-Being Resource
Thinking about creating a wellness resource for your members? Renee Branson, MA, CreC, principal and founder of RB consulting, serves on LMA’s Well-Being Committee, which led the implementation of the Well-Being Resource Center. She said associations can access many free and low-cost reputable sources of information, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. At a minimum, she said, associations can create a clearinghouse of vetted, reputable resources online for members as a beginning and then go from there.
Holland credits the strong support of volunteers in establishing the Well-Being Resource Center. Peer-to-peer engagement from the Well-being Committee and board of directors has been essential to support the project, she said.
From the beginning, LMA wanted the online resource to be available to anyone, not just members. “We think mental health and well-being is important and anyone should be able to get these resources,” Branson said. Open access has quickly made the Well-Being Resource Center a “go-to destination” on LMA’S website, Holland noted, adding that the most popular sections are on mindfulness and meditation.