Law Students Lead in Less Desirable Categories
Seen as some of the world’s leading scholars, law students lead in other less desirable categories as well. According to recent publications ( Behavioral sciences adn the Law, 2004, and Legal Reference Services Quarterly, 2005) law students are leading the pack in many of mental health’s most troubling issues.
The Legal Profession Assistance Conference reported that the general population suicide rate in Canada and the United States is in the range of 10-14 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. The study also showed the rate of death by suicide for law students is nearly six times that of the general population. Surprisingly, suicide kills more people in the United States each year than homicide. Additionally, a Johns Hopkins study found lawyers have the highest incidence of major depressive disorder among 104 occupational groups
Although law students start out little different from students in other professional fields and the general population, soon after law school commences they report large increases in psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, hostility, and paranoia.
Just knowing this information does little to solve the problem. Even hough you might not be experiencing these difficulties or noticing a difference in yourself, I would venture to say that others around you might be struggling. Many students find it difficult to juggle the many challenges that law school presents and find themselves in a mental state where they never expected to be. Additionally, life does not stop happening around you just because you are in school. External factors and concerns for your friends and family might be the last straw in “keeping it all together.”
When it seems like life is unbearable, you don’t have to go through it alone. Pay attention to both your behaviors and those of your friends. An increase in drinking, substance abuse, irregular sleeping patterns, and risk-taking behaviors are all signs that something could be wrong. Seeking out the appropriate help is a must. I am available to discuss any issue with you at anytime. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to admit that you are feeling less like yourself. You are not alone.
Check out the articles available online at www.haworthpress.com/web/LRSQ and www.interscience.wiley.com. You can also call the Alachua County Crisis Center, 24 hours a day, at 264-6789.