No amount of yoga or hiking will sustain public defenders. Individual self-care is not enough. Sustaining well-being must be baked into the work and accepted as a priority from the top down. Just as individuals must take care of themselves and practice good health habits, organizations and systems must be healthy and supportive to thrive.
The ABA notes that maintaining well-being is part of the ethical duty of competence (RPC 1.1). Defender well-being is also an access to justice issue- we have to be healthy to provide high quality and zealous representation to our clients.
The Path to Lawyer Well Being, ABA/National Taskforce on Lawyer Well-Being (2017)
Tiny Survival Guide, Trauma Stewardship Institute
Map for Managing One’s Day, Trauma Stewardship Institute
Gratitude Log, Trauma Stewardship Institute
When Experiencing Overwhelm and Trauma, Trauma Stewardship Institute
BWW Invitation and Schedule October to December 2021, Be Well Wednesdays, an NAPD weekly and ongoing virtual event for public defenders