By Matthew Gorney.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Law Student Division will recognize National Mental Health Day in an effort to increase awareness of how law students are affected by mental health issues.
National Mental Health Day is Tuesday, March 27. The Division encourages law schools to take part in the day by engaging in activities that shed light on the mental health issues law students face and the methods of safely dealing with those issues.
The Division’s website includes a toolkit that may be downloaded and used to help plan for National Mental Health Day.
The kit provides basic information about these issues, risk factors associated with it, signs of mental health issues, prevention methods, and a list of other resources.
According to the information provided in the toolkit, between 20 and 40 percent of law students suffer from clinical depression by the time they graduate from law school. While these general statistics may seem amazing, any school that participates in National Mental Health Day should also research what the statistics are in their area.
Among the ideas offered by the toolkit is giving information that dispels myths about mental illness. Two other important things are providing options for where students can go to get help and a list of symptoms and signs to be watching for.
For example, the symptoms of an episode of depression can be emotional, physical, psychological, or a combination of the three. These symptoms are:
- Feeling sad, empty, alone, or hopeless
- Excessive crying
- Excessive worrying
- Feeling more tense or anxious than usual
- Overreacting to situations
- Poor appetite or overeating
- Low energy or fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Feeling hopeless
- Low self-esteem
- Self-critical thoughts
- Feeling that no one values you
- Feeling no purpose to existence
- Recurring thoughts of death
The toolkit provides more information. Law school SBAs and deans are encouraged to download the kit and participate in National Mental Health Day. Questions may be directed to Anna Courtney, the Division’s Mental Health Initiative Project Director. Courtney’s information may be found on the same website as the toolkit.
Vol. 40 No. 6
Matthew Gorney, a 2L at the University of Kansas School of Law, is student editor of Student Lawyer.