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Law Student Mental Health Campaign Focuses on Mindfulness, Overcoming Stress

Mental health in the legal industry will take center stage as several wings of the American Bar Association (ABA) are hosting early October events in honor of Law Student Mental Health Day.

brain 1294854 640On Thursday, Oct. 8, the Law School Division and Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) will feature law professor and author Rhonda Magee to talk about the power of “mindfulness” with respect to practicing law. Magee, who wrote “The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness,” will discuss her work during a 4:30 p.m. EDT webinar entitled “Exploring the Intersection Between Racial Justice, Social Activism and Mental Health.”

“This year has been filled with challenges and stresses, and the webinar is an opportunity to recommit to personal well-being,” according to the ABA. It further notes that Magee will “offer tips for focusing awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts and sensations, to maintain mental health.”

On Friday, Oct. 9, a second event at 1 p.m. will feature law experts workshopping “practical strategies” students can utilize alongside the ABA, their respective law schools and state boards of examiners. That workshop will include:

  • Jordana Confino, of Fordham Law School, and author of “Where Are We on the Path to Law Student Well-Being
  • Janet Stearns, Dean of Students at the University of Miami School of Law
  • David Jaffe, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Washington College of Law, American University

Finally, on Saturday, Oct. 10, the trade group will engage in a “Social Media Hashtag Campaign” to promote mental health and overall wellness. It will be "a day of well-being. Each and every one of us can up our commitment to make the time to move around, whether outdoors or indoors, and stay healthy. Choose your activity, and post a picture using the hashtags #LawStudentWellness and #ABAMentalHealth,” reads information from the ABA.

FROM TWITTER

Cincinnati Law Student Affairs @UCLawStudentAff

"Next week is Law Student Mental Health week! We have terrific programming planned via @ABACoLAP, @abalsd, @legallymindful, and more, so stay tuned! #lawstudentwellness #ABAmentalhealth #bewelluclaw"

According to information from Enjuris, mental health statistics from Harvard University paint a sobering picture of mental health struggles facing law school students. They report 25% of law school students have depression, 24% suffer from anxiety and 20% are at a heightened risk of suicide. Perhaps even more alarming, the report shows two-thirds of those with mental health issues said they began as a result of being in law school.

“The rigors of law school are undeniable,” according to Enjuris. “Law school has a constant feeling of competition: You’re competing with your peers for your class rank and spots on the prestigious extracurricular activities, and you’re competing with countless other law students for internships and job opportunities post-graduation.”

The ABA offers a bevy of resources aimed at dealing with mental health issues. Those topics deal with issues ranging from substance abuse to suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and even ways to deal with stressors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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