It’s no secret that law students face a number of stressors while in school. These issues only seem to skyrocket after graduation. As we noted in our recent investigative report on mental health and substance abuse in the legal profession, 28% of licensed, employed lawyers suffer depression, 19% demonstrate symptoms of anxiety, and 21% qualify as problem drinkers. It is a problem that can no longer be ignored, and the ABA Law Student Division is trying its best to do something about it.
The ABA Law Student Division has declared March 28th to be the official National Mental Health Day for law schools across the country. The American Bar Association’s website says that “law schools are encouraged to sponsor educational programs and events that teach and foster breaking the stigma associated with severe depression and anxiety among law students and lawyers.”
In recognition of Mental Health Day, the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and the Law Student Division is hosting a live, nationwide Twitter chat from 1-2PM ET on student wellness. Brian Cuban, the author of The Addicted Lawyer, is listed as one of the event’s special guests. This event hopes to encourage students to seek help when they need it, and to also answer any questions concerning mental health. If you’re interested in following, simply search tweets with the hashtag #LawStudentWellness (make sure to filter by “latest” tweets to track the conversation.) If you’d like to participate in the discussion by adding your own questions or comments, add the hashtag #LawStudentWellness to your tweets.
The ABA CoLAP and the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar have also created a podcast series entitled “The Path to Law Student Well-Being.” The podcast aims to help law schools and the legal community as a whole to shift the culture of the legal profession to one that is focused on well-being. You can listen to the inaugural two-part episode here.
Among other resources, law students will also have access to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Toolkit. This document is a collaborative effort of the ABA CoLAP, the ABA Law Student Division, and the Dave Nee Foundation. The kit offers information for students experiencing signs of depression, substance abuse, stress, and anxiety, as well as resources for law schools on intervention and how to promote wellness.
We at Rocket Matter encourage law school students and faculty alike to participate in today’s activities, and applaud the ABA’s efforts to help attorneys with mental health and substance abuse issues.