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Substance Use and Mental Health Toolkit for Law Students

You, the law student, matter. It is okay that you will not be okay from time-to-time while in law school; this Toolkit is the result of efforts from hundreds of individuals around the country who want to facilitate your well-being.

Mental Health Matters

What do doctors, attorneys, and CEOs have in common? No, this isn’t a joke… These are all occupations that have the highest rates of stress and depression among all occupations. Attorneys across the U.S. have begun to realize how prevalent the problem is.

Unfortunately it isn’t much better for us as students; by the time we graduate, we are nearly four times more likely to develop depression or other mental health issues. When we finally become attorneys, we enter this adversarial system where there’s always a winner and a loser and we can’t always be the winner.

Because of this competition, this sink or swim attitude, it creates this atmosphere of stress and anxiety that looms over every law school and stays with us throughout our entire career.

One of the biggest challenges we face is erasing the stigma of mental health issues, and many troubled students keep to themselves and refuse to seek help out of fear. Take a look at the information here and let these people know that they are not alone by raising awareness of mental health issues.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength.

For immediate help: National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800.784.2433)

National Mental Health Day – October 10

The ABA Law Student Division’s official National Mental Health Day at law schools is observed on the same day mental health initiatives are spotlighted across the country. 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.

Whether through your SBA or local bar groups, we hope you and your law school will take this opportunity to play an active role in the activities and events planned throughout the country for National Mental Health Day.

Mental Health Shirt Apparel Options Include a unisex t-shirt hoodie and women's t-shirt

Buy Gear to Support Mental Health Efforts!

Join the ABA in supporting mental health awareness in the legal profession. The ABA Law Student Division and the ABA Commission for Legal Assistance Programs (CoLAP) is offering an exclusive contest-winning design to raise awareness for the mental health of lawyers and law students across the country. The design comes from Mary Maerz of the University of Virginia School of Law. All proceeds will be donated to CoLAP.

Get your gear here!

More Essential Mental Health & Wellness Resources

Mental health posts from Before the Bar, the Law Student Division blog.

ABA Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP)

Alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental health problems are afflictions that affect a great number of professionals including lawyers and judges. To provide a model for assisting lawyers whose practices had been impaired by addictions, the ABA created the Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) to provide support to attorneys fighting addictions as well as stress, depression, and other mental health problems. The Commission’s primary goal is to advance the legal community’s knowledge of impairments facing lawyers and to provide a response to those issues.

Resources from CoLAP and the ABA

ABA Mental Health Reports

Mental Health Working Groups

Podcasts and Video

The Path to Law Student Well-Being: Podcast Series

  • Episode 1, Part 1: Ways individual faculty members can notice, engage with, and support students they suspect are in distress.
  • Episode 1, Part 2: Steps faculty can take to promote student well-being through their teaching in the classroom and includes concrete actions for law school administrators. 
  • Episode 2: A short conversation about character and fitness evaluations in the bar admission process as it pertains to mental health issues and substance use disorders.

Legal Profession Articles From the ABA

Mental Health Content from Other Sites

Blogs and Other Contributors

Other Groups