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Labor Lawyer Found Dead: Mental Health Reminder For Your Firm

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By Betty Wang, JD on June 19, 2013 3:53 PM

An attorney for the Labor Department was found dead in his jail cell, with his throat slashed, reports The Washington Post. Fifty-eight-year-old Paul Mannina was charged with sexually assaulting his co-worker when he was sentenced to jail in Washington D.C. His death occurred mere hours after a Supeior Court judge rejected Mannina's request to seek out mental-health care, and ordered that he instead continued to be held in jail.

It is currently unknown and under investigation whether or not this was a homicide or a suicide. However, sources close to Mannina, his attorney and friends, testified that Mannina was showing signs of a change in his mental state and that he desperately needed help.

What can we take from this sad story about the government worker? Here are some important reminders to keep in mind when it comes to quality of life and operations at your own firm.

Mental health is a huge factor to one’s quality of life

Aside from getting home at a reasonable time and addressing the culture at your firm to ensure quality of life for you and others at your firm, remember that mental health is key in one’s general well-being. Mental instability and other personal issues leading to it can affect one’s work ethic and the quality of the product they put out. Don’t disregard yours or any other attorney’s mental health as a personal issue that needs to be addressed outside of work because it’s not related.

Approach the situation with caution, if you feel like you or another attorney is suffering from any mental disorders. This can arise from general burnout, a personal relationship, or a past of mental illnesses.

Outside resources are available

Beyond talking about the issue and bringing light to it, there are many other steps that need to be taken if you or anyone at your firm is suffering from mental health disorders. Educating oneself on the issues is a great start. That, and there are many hotlines and resources available, both within the legal network and the general network of mental health resources.

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