Law as a profession has one of the highest rates of depression and anxiety of any occupation, and it all starts in law school. As law students, we are about three times more likely than other students to experience depression at some point while we are at university.
It is normal to feel a bit overwhelmed sometimes, and it’s okay to be upset because you got a crappy mark in an assignment. The problem arises when these feelings don’t go away. Feeling these things all the time, rather than just around exams, or during a big assignment means it might be time to get some help. I promise it isn’t just you that feels this way.
Here are a couple of places to start if you think you might need help…
This is a great place to start if you don’t know where to start. It has a good overview of depression and anxiety, and there are plenty of advice sections for people who might be experiencing depression or anxiety. It also has resources for those who are worried about a friend or family member.
Is focused specifically on mood disorders such as depression and Bipolar disorder. It specialises in diagnoses, treatment and prevention. The Institute’s website provides information about how to get help, and also has quite a lot of advice pages about things you can do to try and lift your mood and make life changes.
The great thing about this site is that it is targeted at young people under the age of 25. They can help you through tough times, or they might be able to just help you become a bit more motivated. They have a mental health gym, where you can go to work out and improve your mental health, daily challenges and tips via sms and a bunch of really helpful information specific to getting through study, setting goals for the future and becoming a happier person.
If you feel like you need immediate support, or you are at the point where you are contemplating suicide, get in touch with these guys strait away. They are a confidential counseling service that you can call any time, day or night, and talk to someone in person, or even chat over the web.
Their phone number is 13 11 14 and their website is http://www.lifeline.org.au/.
Although this is an American site, it is one of a kind and I think you should all know about it, mostly to show you that you are not alone. The site is specifically dedicated to lawyers with depression and has some very interesting reading on why we might feel depressed more often than other professions.
It is not a place for advice, though there are some advice articles, but rather for a spot of inspiration. The blog is definitely worth a look, as it has some great articles.
Mental Health Organisations for the Legal Profession
There are also several organisations that focus on improving the mental wellbeing of Australia’s law students, lawyers, barristers and judges. Check out the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation (http://www.tjmf.org.au/), the Wellbeing and the Law Foundation (http://www.watlfoundation.org.au/), and the Wellness Network for Law (http://wellnessforlaw.com/).
FROM THE ARCHIVES: This story was first published on Survive Law on 9 October 2013.
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