Litigation Psychology Podcast #71 - Mental health awareness

Guest: Whitney Burkett - Associate Attorney, Anderson, Rasor & Partners

CSI - Courtroom Sciences Inc

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Whitney Burkett, Associate Attorney with Anderson, Rasor & Partners, and CSI Litigation Consultant Dr. Alyssa Parker join Dr. Steve Wood to discuss mental health, and in particular the mental health of witnesses. Whitney and Alyssa discuss the importance of assessing the mental state of witnesses in advance of their preparation for testimony and understanding their overall mental health. Sometimes witnesses can be experiencing mental health stressors that go beyond the litigation which can impact their ability to avoid opposing counsel tricks and feel confident and calm for their deposition testimony. The group also talks about the importance of helping witnesses who are struggling with their mental state to understand that its okay to be having these stressful feelings and concerns and why discussing them will better prepare them for the battle of testimony. Dr. Parker provides an explanation of an amygdala hijack and the danger of the fight or flight response that is activated when the amygdala is hijacked due to emotion. Lastly, they discuss the impact of COVID on witnesses, how to prepare witnesses for virtual depositions, and the necessity of getting comfortable talking about witness' emotional well-being and mental health.