The Patrick D. Sheeran & Michael J. Crowley Memorial Trust launched a website, sheerancrowley.org, in April aimed at making it easier to help Texas lawyers, judges, and law students with substance abuse problems, depression, and other mental health issues.
Lawyers who find themselves suffering from depression or drinking too much often feel that they are alone, with nowhere to get help. A small group of lawyers realized that with proper treatment, these attorneys could return to a fulfilling life and practice. In 1995, they created the Sheeran-Crowley Trust to provide financial assistance to those in need who didn’t have the means to pay for services.
Today the trust has distributed nearly $150,000 in grants to attorneys who needed help. And as a recent study released by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs showed, these services are greatly needed: 21 percent of licensed working attorneys are problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some level of depression, and 11 percent of lawyers have had suicidal thoughts at some point in their career. And younger attorneys are having a harder time than their experienced counterparts. The study found that 32 percent of lawyers 30 years old or younger have a drinking problem.
The new site provides information about the Sheeran-Crowley Trust, which is administered by volunteer trustees who are members of Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, an organization that works closely with the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program of the State Bar of Texas. Site visitors can watch a video to see how the trust and TLAP changed the lives of three attorneys and listen to podcasts of recovery stories. Not only can visitors help financially by clicking on the donate buttons, but they can also get help or help someone in need by calling TLAP toll free at 1-800-343-8527. All communication with TLAP is confidential by statute.
For more information, go to sheerancrowley.org.