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Suffering in Silence: The Survey of Law Student Well-Being and the Reluctance of Law Students to Seek Help for Substance Use and Mental Health Concerns

Journal of Legal Eduation, Vol. 66, Issue 1, Pg. 116

American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2017-02

42 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2016 Last revised: 9 Feb 2017

Jerome M. Organ

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)

David Jaffe

American University - Washington College of Law

Katherine Bender

Bridgewater State University; David Nee Foundation

Date Written: September 13, 2016

Abstract

This article reports the results of the Survey of Law Student Well-Being (SLSWB) implemented in spring 2014 at fifteen law schools around the country. The SLSWB is the first multischool study in over twenty years to address law student use of alcohol and street drugs, and the first-ever multischool study to explore prescription drug use and the mental health concerns and help-seeking attitudes of law students. The results of the study indicate that roughly one-quarter to one-third of respondents reported frequent binge drinking or misuse of drugs, and/or reported mental health challenges. Moreover, the results indicated that significant majorities of those law students most in need of help are reluctant to seek it. The article concludes by discussing how law school administrators and other relevant leaders within the legal academy and legal profession can promote and improve wellness so that law students are better-positioned to find success as law students and to serve their future clients well as lawyers.

Keywords: law students, alcohol, drugs, substance use, mental health, help-seeking attitudes, bar admission

Suggested Citation

Organ, Jerome M. and Jaffe, David and Bender, Katherine, Suffering in Silence: The Survey of Law Student Well-Being and the Reluctance of Law Students to Seek Help for Substance Use and Mental Health Concerns (September 13, 2016). Journal of Legal Eduation, Vol. 66, Issue 1, Pg. 116; American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2017-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2839290

Jerome M. Organ

University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States

David Jaffe (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Suite C107
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Katherine Bender

Bridgewater State University ( email )

Bridgewater, MA 02325
United States
508.531.2156 (Phone)

David Nee Foundation ( email )

P.O. Box 231487
New York, NY 10023
United States

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