ByEileen M. Laux
Eileen M. Laux, a 3L at Florida Coastal School of Law, is student editor of Student Lawyer.
Mark March 27 on the calendar. The ABA Law Student Division has selected that day as the official National Mental Health Day at law schools across the country. Law schools are encouraged to sponsor educational programs and events that foster breaking the stigma associated with depression and anxiety amongst law students and lawyers.
The Law Student Division has compiled a toolkit for participating schools. Student Bar Associations and administrators can use the kit to aid in prevention and preparedness. Included in the introduction of the toolkit is a quote by US Federal Judge Patrick Shiltz about the law and the connection to mental health.
“I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the profession that you are about to enter is one of the most unhappy and unhealthy on the face of the earth––and, in the view of many, one of the most unethical. The good news is that you can join this profession and still be happy, healthy, and ethical. I am writing to tell you how.”
According to toolkit data, depression rates, anxiety, and hostility begin at the same time a legal career begins––during law school. Make sure your school gets on board in order to take part in the programs and help students understand mental health issues.
“Mental Health Day is incredibly important because it is focused on creating awareness and destigmatizing mental illness in law schools and the legal profession alike. Awareness and destigmatization are essential to creating an environment in which individuals both know where to get help and are not afraid to get help,”says Nicholas Cantrell, project director of the ABA Law Student Division Mental Health and Wellness Initiative.
For more information on the Mental Health Initiative and Mental Health Day on March 27, visit the Division’s website.
Vol. 41 No. 6