What Washington and Lee University School of Law professor Brian Clarke points out is the correlation between clinical depression and suicide. According to one study, 10.8% of lawyer deaths are from suicide. And, lawyers are 3.6 times more likely than the average population to suffer from depression. Here is the coverage of Clarke's finding in Corporate Counsel.
There have been many theories about why lawyers are more prone to depression. One is that there is the unique stress of having to answer to so many parties: Client, partner, judge, jury, opposing counsel. Another is that the business is adversarial by its very nature. In many situations there is a winner and a loser. A third is that the work is all consuming and it is difficult or impossible to have any balance.
But speculating why lawyers are depressed won't do much in pushing them to get treatment. If it's outed that they are depressives, they could be open to greater scrutiny, ranging from the state bar to prospects and superiors.
However, getting treatment often doesn't mean relief from the mood disorder. Those of us with clinical depression usually have been through the wringer. Yes, we followed the mental health community's best treatment protocols, at the time. Much of that did more harm than good. In addition, you bet, we struggled to mask the condition while we were employed in organizations.
Desperate for relief, I finally gave up on seeking help from the mental health experts. Instead I cherry picked this and that from religions ranging from Wiccan to the Quakers, 12-step programs, mindfulness practices, studies on how creative pursuits can lift the mood and the animal-human bond. It was probably my responsibility to pets which saved my life.
The Catch-22 is that it takes energy to search for solutions to depression. Yet depression robs energy.