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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lawyer & Law Student Wellness

The ABA recently released a report on lawyer and law student wellness.  It (unsurprisingly) finds that both lawyers and law students have high rates of chronic stress, depression, and substance abuse.  It also contains recommendations for law schools on steps to increase the chance that students will get the help they need and experience better outcomes.  Some of the recommendations, such as including a note about institutional mental health and wellness resources in my syllabus, can be implemented easily.  Others will require more institutional involvement.

I'm curious about what other faculty around the country do.  Do you use some class time to talk to your students about wellness and mental health issues?  It seems a natural fit for some courses.  I'd always talk about it when we discussed lawyers assistance programs in professional responsibility.  It might also make sense to talk about it when giving a review session before a final exam.  I would probably frame it as a peak performance issue because the students might be more receptive to it that way.  The student that sleeps eight hours a day probably has a cognitive edge over the student that sleeps only four.

Posted by Benjamin P. Edwards on November 14, 2017 at 09:44 AM | Permalink

Comments

Hi Ben, thanks for writing about this issue. I had a wonderful Civil Procedure professor who reminded us to get some exercise, and I do the same. I go so far as to recommend flu shots. I've handed out goal sheets in 1L classes, and asked that students include at least one non-academic goal. I've talked to some of my students about breaking through test anxiety with visualization techniques. I'd love to bust out a sun salutation in class, but I'll wait til tenure for that one.

Posted by: Kat | Nov 14, 2017 3:38:43 PM

There are a couple of great videos you can show in class too or assign outside of class--like this one: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/lawyer_assistance/events_cle/the_besden_redemption.html

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Nov 15, 2017 11:37:36 PM

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