CSI Litigation Consultant Ava Hernandez, M.A. joins Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. to discuss witness mental health. Often, fact witnesses that are preparing for deposition may be suffering from psychological issues that could impact their performance during prep and especially during the actual deposition. Bill and Ava talk about how witnesses that have been summoned to testify could be dealing with anxiety not just about the litigation itself, but also other issues in their personal and professional lives that make it challenging for them to focus and perform during deposition prep.
All witnesses need to be evaluated, assessed, and any emotional or mental issues need to be identified and addressed, before the attorney begins their deposition preparation with the witness. They also discuss how some witnesses will appear to be doing better than they actually are and may be reluctant to allow others to know how they are really feeling, so working with someone who has experience asking the right questions of the witness to assess their true emotional and mental state is crucial. It's important to acknowledge how unfamiliar the situation is, to validate their feelings, and process those feelings so they can focus fully on the preparation. Lastly, Bill and Ava discuss practical steps that can be taken with witnesses to maximize their deposition performance.