The ABA Law Student Division’s National Mental Health Day is fast approaching. On March 27, law schools across the country are being encouraged to spread awareness and promote discussion about mental health and substance abuse in the legal community. Our main goals are to educate and break the stigma associated with severe depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. We want to foster a professional and academic environment that encourages open discussion of these issues and promote visibility and accessibility of treatment options.
As law students, we hold a great deal of power and responsibility in shaping the future of our profession. Creating a culture of acceptance starts with us and our actions right now. I encourage each of you to take initiative in your own lives. Start by finding out what your school’s current involvement level is for National Mental Health Day. Talk to administrators, other students, and local attorneys about what steps need to be taken to create an environment that fosters open discussion and tolerance of mental health and substance abuse issues. Remember, that it only takes one person to get this type of discussion started at any one place, and that one person can be you.
While a day of widespread advocacy is extremely important to our cause, we need to continue our efforts on a daily basis as well. The type of change we seek in both the legal profession and society’s treatment of mental health and substance abuse issues will not occur overnight. This change will only take place with continued advocacy and action, one day at a time, before and beyond March 27.
For more information, visit the Division’s Mental Health page.