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New Mexico Judicial Wellness Program

New Mexico Judicial Wellness Program

Testimonials From Your Colleagues

  • Judge autonomy and independence are essential to ensure an impartial judicial process. At the same time, when coupled with the responsibilities of and increasing pressures on judges caused by heavy caseloads and detailed computer data tracking, autonomy and independence can quickly turn into isolation and anxiety. JWELL's coaching and support programs offer judges helpful and healthy connections to keep fast-paced dockets from becoming overwhelming and JWELL offers positive approaches to manage stress when demands become daunting.

    JWELL Testimonal

  • The challenges of serving as a judge are unique to the legal profession, and every judge needs support to ensure they are able to perform their duties effectively. JWELL has been a vital resource for me to understand how to address the demands of my role, balance my physical and mental health, and develop effective strategies to serve the people of New Mexico. JWELL's work will continue to improve our judicial officer's ability to serve our communities, and I encourage the legal community to support JWELL's efforts.

    JWELL Testimonial

  • Stress, anxiety, depression, and poor coping skills and habits; these are the everyday struggles of those in the legal profession, including the Judiciary, in New Mexico. JWELL provides tools to address these challenges head on. And in doing so, JWELL has fostered hope for a healthier life for many!

    JWELL Testimonial

  • The JWELL Judges Tell Their Stories of Recovery podcast is inspiring for anyone who is overcoming an issue that causes them to feel alone or too embarrassed to ask for help. While specific to alcohol and drug abuse, I found the judges' insights to be applicable to a multitude of issues many people face surrounding shame or embarrassment regarding personal problems. And to see three judges who have overcome their shame around addiction and being willing to share their path to recovery lets others know they can do so as well. Knowing you are not alone is the first step.

    JWELL Testimonial


Mission Statement

New Mexico Judicial Wellness Program promotes and optimizes health and wellness among New Mexico Judges by creating and facilitating educational programs and offering resources and services which provide a supportive environment for our judiciary in order to restore and maintain ones overall mental, physical, and spiritual health.

In recognizing the challenges in these unprecedented times and taking into account the results of the 2019 National Judicial Survey (see page 10), the State Bar of New Mexico Well-Being Committee created a Judicial Well-Being Sub-Committee in August, 2020. The Judicial Well-Being Sub-Committee immediately focused on bringing some much needed hope, support, encouragement and education to the NM Judicial Community by creating JWell Now.

JWell Now is the proactive part of an overall Judicial Wellness Program that focuses on and brings attention to the importance of judicial self-care through education in various formats and vehicles of proliferation, support groups, outreach, and available resources and services. The reactive part of this overall Judicial Wellness Program is termed JCall Now, which will focus on providing a much needed safe and confidential resource for judges to connect with when they find themselves struggling and want or need help.

In establishing a Judicial Wellness Program, the JW Sub-Committee proposed a roll-out of the identified goals and initiatives in three phases to aid in focusing on the short term and long term needs of the NM Judicial Community. 

Overall, New Mexico Judicial Wellness Program was created to promote health and wellness among New Mexico Judges by creating and facilitating programs (educational or otherwise) and practices that encourage a supportive environment for the restoration and maintenance of overall mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

To create a culture change within the NM Judiciary that decreases the stigma surrounding a Judge reaching out to ask for help for any mental or behavioral health struggle.

To create a safe, confidential program for judges to connect with where they can receive the help and support they need without job related consequences being attached to the connection.

To achieve sustainable progress on judicial wellness, this will in turn strengthen the NM Judiciary Community.

The N.M. Rules of Professional Conduct (Rule 16-803) and the N.M. Code of Judicial Conduct (Rule 21-300) provide strict confidentiality for individuals seeking assistance from the JWP. All communications and actions taken by JWP with its clients are held in the strict-est confidence and are not reported to any individual or entity outside of JWP, including any professional disciplinary agency, without the client’s permission. Likewise, the identities of individuals who contact JWP with concerns about a legal professional are confidential and not disclosed to anybody including the person referred.

Confidential Helpline Number: Judges call 505-797-6097

The proactive element is JWell Now which focuses on directing attention to the importance of judicial self-care through education in various formats. Such formats include, but are not limited to presentation, outreach, support groups, resources and other well-being services. The responsive element is JCall Now, which focuses on providing a much needed safe and confidential resource for judges to connect when they find themselves struggling and want or need support.

Podcast Episode: The Other Side of the Bench: The Importance of Resilience from a Judicial Perspective

Listen to this free podcast episode featuring your own colleagues, including Justice Barbara Vigil (ret.), discussing resiliency on the bench. 

NM Judicial Wellness Program Gets a National Mention:

Judge Paves Way for Others With Mental Health Disclosure

Mentor Coaching for New Mexico Judges Survey Preliminary Findings

  • The survey had a total response rate of 46%, with 145 total participants. Probate judges are the group that responded with the highest response rate, followed by Metro.
  • The largest share of respondents was judges on the bench for 3-8 years (40%), followed by judges on the bench for 0-2 years (23%).
  • The majority of survey participants (96%) believe that a Mentor Coaching Program would be useful. All six judges that did not agree that the program would be useful were judges 3-8 years into their judicial career.
  • Although almost all respondents stated that the program would be useful at the beginning of their career, only 68% indicated that the program would be useful at the current point in their career. The majority (91%) of the judges with the 0-2 years on the bench stated the program would be useful.
  • Isolation on the job was the challenge most often selected, followed by handling difficult personalities and managing stressors.
  • Judges with 3-8 years on the bench reported the overall highest number of challenges were isolation followed by handling difficult personalities with staff, self-represented litigants, attorneys.

View the Full Survey

Confidential Helpline

Judges Helpline 505-797-6097

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coaching resources

Judicial Coaching Resource

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View Upcoming Judicial Events

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JWell Now eblasts

Newsletter Archive

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JWell Now Videos & Podcasts

Video & Podcast Archive

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Judicial Roundtables

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Employee  assistance program

Employee Assistance Program

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All wellness programs

State Bar of NM Wellness Programs

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Confidential Helpline/Hotline Assistance

NM Lawyer Assistance Confidential Helpline
Call or text available!
If you are struggling or notice a colleague struggling, the NM LAP offers assistance through an immediate helpline. All calls are CONFIDENTIAL, and you can remain anonymous if you so choose. This service is designed for attorneys, paralegals, law students, law clerks, and all other legal staff.

NM Judicial Helpline
If you are a judge struggling or notice a fellow judge struggling, the NM Judicial Wellness Program offers assistance through an immediate helpline. All calls are CONFIDENTIAL, and you can remain anonymous if you so choose.

What if I or Someone I Know Is in Crisis?
If you are thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately.

  • Do not leave the person alone, and do not isolate yourself
  • Call your doctor.
  • Call 911 or go to a hospital ER to get immediate assistance or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
  • Call the 24-hour NM Crisis Line to speak with a supportive clinical professional at 1-855-662-7474; TTY: 1-855-227-5485.
  • Call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; TTY: 1-800-799-4889. to talk with a trained counselor.

Please note: We do not offer legal advice or assist those looking for legal representation. This is a mental health and referral service for the NM Legal Communi

Judicial Well-Being Sub-Committee Members:

  • Hon. Justice David Thomson
  • Hon. Henry Alaniz (ret.)
  • Hon. Sandra Engel (ret.)
  • Hon. Judge Casey Fitch
  • Hon. Benjamin Cross
  • Torri Jacobus
  • Mateo Page
  • Pamela Moore
  • Norm Gagne
  • Scott Patterson
  • Kate Dulit
  • Faith Montoya