The Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program of the State Bar of Texas received the Texas Suicide Prevention Council’s Leadership Award yesterday at the Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium in San Marcos.

The honor was bestowed on TLAP staff attorney Chris Ritter by the TSPC, a coalition of various community-based organizations, state and local agencies, and academic institutions, all of which have the same key goal: to reduce suicides in the Lone Star State. TLAP provides confidential assistance to lawyers, law students, and judges who have problems with substance abuse and/or mental health issues. Suicide is a concern for members of the legal community, as it is the third-leading cause of death for attorneys.


TLAP’s Chris Ritter (right) accepts the Leadership Award from Texas Suicide Prevention Council Officer Troy Bush.

“TLAP has been working very hard this year to get information out across the state about suicide prevention,” Ritter said.  “No one does more in Texas to address this problem than the Texas Suicide Prevention Council, so it is a great honor for TLAP to receive its Texas Suicide Prevention Council’s Leadership Award.”

TLAP’s suicide prevention efforts have included presenting to law school deans and making the topic a focus of the annual TLAP Texas Law School Deans Conference. TLAP also presented on suicide prevention at the State Bar Annual Meeting in June, where it distributed its paper on suicide and the legal profession to the audience of attorneys.

According to Tracy Reyes Franklin, who presents on suicide prevention for TLAP and represents the program on the council, TLAP also had a suicide prevention presentation included in the programming for the 2016 Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Convention and has promoted “Life Alert” suicide prevention handouts and online materials and resources for getting professional, peer, and group support at Ritter said that TLAP will be focusing more on suicide prevention in the next year.