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Everything we learned during Law Student Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week
Scenes from Mental Health Week at the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, courtesy of Dean of Students Steve Yeager.

Last week was the first fall edition of Law Student Mental Health Week, bringing the LSD’s Mental Health Day to Oct. 10 in keeping with the national observance. And law schools across the country brought the information – and a few surprises – to their campuses.

The ever-busy Brian Cuban, author of The Addicted Lawyer had stops at The University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., and The University of Oklahoma College of Law. Students gathered to watch “To Hell and Back: One Lawyer’s Path to Recovery,” a YouTube Live talk at American University Washington College of Law presented by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. And many colleges, such as the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University, focused on the body as well as the mind.

And of course, there were visits from therapy dogs:

The Law Student Division Council is fast approaching 500 pledges to its #OverruleTheStigma campaign. Law students, professors, administrators, and practitioners can still sign up to foster change within legal education.

Watch Laurie Besden tell her story of addiction and redemption
American University Washington College of Law hosted a YouTube Live event for Law Student Mental Health Day featuring Laurie Besden, Pennsylvania Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers Executive Director, who is in recovery.

How to rewire your brain to be more resilient in your legal career
In this webinar – “Rewiring Your Brain for Stress Resilience” with Jennifer Riggs, a neuroscience coach, speaker, and former lawyer – you will learn: how stress affects the brain; how we can change the brain; how common coping strategies do not serve; and what strategies we can use instead to improve our brain’s stress resilience.

My Little Panic Attack

Your panic attack and you: A user’s guide
By Adam Music
A panic attack does not make you weak. It means you’re human. It means you’re dealing with something that you might understand. It might be emotional, it might be physical, and it might be both.

Mental health and wellness: Not the same, but equally important
By Caitlin Peterson
It still bothers me how many “mental health” initiatives in fact focus on wellness as the main or only theme. The real truth is that while mental health and wellness are in fact both important to having a healthy mind overall, the two are totally separate concepts that could stand to be addressed as such.

Transgender student

5 tips for transgender law students
By Kennedy LeJeune 
Law school is a unique experience, but it is also incredibly stressful. For some transgender law students, school is more complex than just going to class and studying for finals. Some trans people, such as myself, deal with high levels of stress and anxiety in daily life aside from the struggles of law school.

Six strategies for law school happiness
By Kathryne M. Young
There are many sources of law school unhappiness, from the massive loans to the high-stakes exams.  Some of this is structural; you can’t do anything about it.  But there are changes you can make to improve your law school life—not only to survive, but to thrive while you’re there.

Navigating your mental health in law school and in your legal career
By Jessica Gilgor
Hey you! Yes, you reading this. We need to have a little chat.Did you know that those who work in the legal profession have the 11th highest suicide rate, according to a 2016 study done by the Center for Disease Control? In fact, women in law experience


If you’re happy and you know it, go to law school
By Alex Card
If you are reading this and you are in law school, you are probably already feeling all of the feelings. You probably already know that it’s stressful, combative, competitive, and it’s tough, but you should remember that you made it here for a reason. You should be proud of yourself! Even though law school is hard, there are still a lot of things to be happy about.

Seek your strength in seeking help – whatever the problem is
By Kathryn Stein
Whatever coping mechanisms we learn and practice as law students will remain with us as we practice law. Law school is the perfect time to learn how to treat our bodies and our minds in healthy ways so we can be helpful and active members of this esteemed profession.


How to get better at handling stress in law school (and beyond)
By Jennifer Riggs
Stress during law school is kind of inevitable, so figuring out how to handle it is key not just to surviving, but thriving. Of course, some people can be pretty good at masking their stress – so there’s that.… but we do have different stress tolerance levels. We can also do something about it.

Podcast: Mental health’s connection to the moral character and fitness application
By Megan Zavieh
Law students face severe stress, frequently leading to a need for treatment for mental illness.  For those who have sought treatment, the moral character fitness application raises great anxiety.


Who asked Ali? Unsolicited, unrefined 1L advice from your Mental Health Coordinator
By Alessandra Fritz
This summer, I had a chance to look back on my 1L year. I thought about things I wish I had really understood as I rode the wild rollercoaster of my first year of law school. So, I’m going to share with you some of those lessons learned, despite the fact that, before and during 1L year, I read many lists like the one I am about to provide, and I did what you were just about to do and skimmed the bolded headers.

Let’s send you out with one more therapy dog:

Take care of yourselves!

ABA Law Student Division The Law Student Division empowers law student by providing them with meaningful connections to practicing professionals, job resources, relevant programming, and practical skills competitions. We represent the law student community by advocating for policies that improve legal education, champion diversity, and strengthen public service.