NJSBA launches new member benefit to provide mental health resources

As seen on NJSBA.com

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To help stem the troubling decline in mental health and wellness among New Jersey’s legal practitioners, the New Jersey State Bar Association is proud to roll out new a Member Assistance Program (MAP) that provides access to trained, experienced mental health professionals and resources.

Powered by mental health resource provider Charles Nechtem Associates, the free confidential service offers 24/7 phone, text or mobile access to a mental health professional with at least seven years of experience, who will provide individual counseling and connect members with a wellness library of more than 25,000 self-help resources. The program is now available to all NJSBA members and those in their households.

The program aims to ease the difficult proposition attorneys face in accessing quality mental health care. Many are forced to either wait months for an appointment with a practitioner who accepts the right insurance, or pay out-of-pocket to expedite the process.

Along with the 24/7 phone access, MAP also offers up to three free face-to-face counseling sessions for all members and those in their household per issue they face. Phone, email and virtual counseling sessions and consultations are unlimited. As part of the service, each client receives a comprehensive behavioral risk assessment to diagnose the nature and severity of the issue and a treatment plan. If further counseling or treatment is needed, referrals are made to providers within the client’s insurance network or to providers who will take reduced fees if the client is uninsured.

NJSBA President Timothy F. McGoughran said the service will be a boon for members who need immediate assistance in dealing with the stress of their daily lives, as people and professionals.

“Ours is a profession that is suffering a mental health and wellness crisis. That is why in the year ahead, the Association will work to provide our members and colleagues with real, practical solutions to improve their lives, and, in turn, their practices,” McGoughran said.

The idea for a mental health member benefit evolved from the Association’s review of the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program and the NJSBA’s Putting Lawyers First Task Force report that uncovered high rates of stress, burnout, suicidal ideations, anxiety and depression among the state’s legal practitioners.

Immediate Past NJSBA President Jeralyn L. Lawrence, who made attorney wellness one of the centerpieces of her tenure, said the MAP will help fulfill the its mission to make the practice of law easier and less stressful for attorneys.

“It was time to look at what was causing the mental health crisis among our friends and colleagues and identify areas that need to change, and develop plans to make it happen. The Member Assistance Program’s potential to create a happier, healthier legal profession in New Jersey cannot be overstated,” Lawrence said.

Charles Nechtem Associates provides employee and member assistance programs to more than 3,000 organizations across the country, including school systems, non-profit organizations, hospitals, local governments and private corporations. The company boasts one of the largest professional counseling networks in North America, with providers in all 50 states, which allows access to virtual or face-to-face counselors within a 10-mile radius of a client’s desired location and access to services while traveling. Its mission is to “provide innovative, effective, research-based easy access” to mental health services that allow for “rapid response, skilled solution-focused intervention and accurate diagnosis.”


June 5, 2023
Contact: Thomas Nobile
Director of Communications
Tel: 732-937-7527

Contact: NJSBA Communications Department
Tel: 732-937-7527
Email: askthenjsba@njsba.com

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