Deontology - Part II
Free Legal Aid & Resource Clinic

Being a Counselor to Your Client: Recognizing Mental Health and Referring to Treatment

Mental helath

On March 18, 2021, the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section and the Ingham County Bar Association partnered to host, “Being a Counselor to Your Client: Recognizing Mental Health and Referring to Treatment” via Zoom. As an attorney, our job is often to research the law, advise the client regarding the law, and advocate on behalf of the client. In some practice areas, however, getting the best positive outcome under the law requires that we also counsel the client on areas to improve their life and the outcomes in the case. Particularly in cases involving criminal charges or family law, addressing an existing mental health disorder or substance use disorder may make a critical difference in the case, but also in the client’s life.

Presenting via Zoom on March 18, 2021 was Ms. Debra Willard. Ms. Willard is a supervisor within Adult Mental Health Services of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Community Mental Health. She presented on common mental health conditions and the symptoms associated with such as well as discussed how to refer clients to services. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Ms. Willard was able to describe common symptoms for common mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders, thought disorders, and substance use disorders. Ms. Willard shared the accepted consent form that is accepted for mental health treatment and discussed what steps a client should take if they have private insurance or whether they have insurance through a public program. She also discussed the different levels of care that exist within the adult mental health system and answered the questions of participants.

It was an excellent program and presentation and has been recorded for future viewing.To view the program in its entirety, please click here:

Important Disclaimer: None of the information contained within establishes a patient-client or attorney-client privilege and is intended for educational purposes for attorneys only. As a reminder, attorneys are not licensed mental health professionals and attorneys should refer clients to competent mental health professionals to address mental health and substance abuse problems.

Christopher Wickman

Nichols Law Firm

East Lansing


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