Mental Health & Wellness

The purpose of the committee is to provide a vehicle for the CMBA to: promote mental health and wellness among our members; educate lawyers and law firm administrators on the warning signs of mental illness; provide better understanding of treatment success rates to reduce the stigma associated with a diagnosis of mental illness; encourage attorneys experiencing symptoms of mental illness to seek early, appropriate treatment; disseminate information regarding the resources available to attorneys in need; and educate the bench and bar regarding the rights and needs of those with mental illness.

If you or a colleague you know need help, contact the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP) at 1-800-348-4343. Your confidentiality, and the confidentiality of anyone about whom you express concerns will be protected.  Click here to visit OLAP's website. 

The committee was derived in 2014 from the Lawyers’ Mental Health Task Force created in 2009 by former CMBA President Michael Brittain. The Task Force worked to educate the legal community about mental health and mental illness and address issues impacting attorneys with a mental illness. Now a committee, it has wide variety of members, including attorneys from large and small firms and other organizations, judges, and interested professionals in the field of behavioral health care.

The committee is currently co-chaired by Cathleen Bolek of Bolek Besser Glesius and Rob Wolff of Littler Mendelson, P.C.

If you are interested in joining, please contact Heather Zirke, Bar Counsel, at 216-696-3525, or click here to join online.

Bolek, Cathleen 



Cathleen M. Bolek 


Robert M. Wolff 


Bolek Besser Glesius, LLC  



Littler Mendelson, P.C.  


For more information on this Committee, please contact Heather Zirke, Bar Counsel.

The Law School Subcommittee includes staff and students from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and The University of Akron. Every year the schools present mental health and substance abuse-related programming.

Programs and initiatives that one or more law schools have provided recently include:

  • Panel discussions on several topics: impact of mental health and substance abuse on the legal profession, including law students; prevention, detection, and treatment resources for students; connection between finances and debt and mental health and substance abuse;

  • Wellness fairs to promote mental and physical health, provide healthy food, and offer neck massages;

  • Promotion of treatment and support resources via websites, email, and refrigerator magnets;

  • Substance abuse seminars required for students taking the Ohio bar;

  • Meals and receptions to provide fun opportunities for interaction and to build community among students, staff, and faculty; and

  • Exam relief/study breaks with food during exam period. 

Beginning in 2010, the Task Force coordinated an effort to increase awareness of mental health issues among attorneys by featuring articles in the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal written by behavioral health care professionals and practicing attorneys. The first article appeared in the December 2010 edition of the Journal. The nine article series concluded in November 2011 with an article written by Justice Evelyn L. Stratton and Judicial Attorney Kristina Hawk. 

 December 2010 - written by R. Jeffrey Pollock   May 2011 - written by Scott R. Mote
 January 2011- written by Dr. Scott Bea   June 2011  - written by Diane Citrino
 February 2011 - written by Sarah Polly   July/August 2011  - written by Ellen Riehm
 March 2011- written by Mary L. Cibella   November 2011 - written by Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton
 April 2011- written by Cynthia Vrabel, M.D.    

Articles of Interest: 

The Task Force has created a Law Firm Mental Health Toolkit.

Click here to download the PDF document.