One of the more serious issues law school students neglect to deal with throughout their time in law school is their mental health. For many students, transitioning into a 1L law student is very overwhelming. From reading cases, making case briefs, studying for exams, and working on appellate briefs, it is easy to see how a law student can easily neglect their mental health. According the American Bar Association, some of the more common mental health issues amongst law students are: stress, depression, substance abuse, and other chemical dependencies. However, many law students are finally beginning to realize the importance of having good mental health, which can lead to higher success in law school. By forming better habits like eating healthier, exercising, and getting good sleep, students are becoming happier with themselves, which leads to better performance in school.
Recently, sixteen student leaders from thirteen different law schools across the country signed a pledge that deals with improving law school students’ mental health. The pledge states that there is a stereotype amongst law schools that the three year experience must be “grueling and overwhelming” to adequately prepare students for real life practice. However, these law school student leaders say that this stereotype is a misconception that must be remedied. The pledge states “the toll on students’ mental health has become an accepted characteristic of law school life rather than properly recognized as an impediment to our success.”
In addition, the pledge noted that the Character and Fitness portion of the bar exam application is leading to additional mental health issues amongst law students. What happens is many law students become worried that they will have to report any mental health counseling they receive to the Character and Fitness portion of bar exam application, which could ultimately deny them entry to the bar. As a result, many law students dealing with mental health issues begin to self medicate, leading for further mental health problems. Hopefully all law schools get on board with this pledge sooner than later and begin providing adequate mental health support for their students.