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Illinois Law Schools Pledge to Improve Mental Health

October 29, 2018

 

To Our Law School Communities,

We sign this letter today to pledge to improve the wellbeing and mental health of our campuses. Improving wellness and advancing legal education are synchronized interests; by promoting one, we can promote the other. Addressing these issues today within our communities will not only make us happier and healthier individuals, but also better students and contributing members of the legal profession.

We see the lengthy history and results of substance abuse within this profession. We want to have a different outcome. We want to address wellbeing and mental health issues among our student bodies by advocating for a better future throughout our legal education, during the bar examination period, and during our professional careers.

We say to our affected peers: you are not alone. We say to all our friends and colleagues: we can do better. Poor student or practitioner health is not a necessary byproduct of a rigorous legal education and needs to be treated as the scourge of the profession that it is. Students left behind are not failure of personal strength. They are testaments to our collective failure to uplift one another and raise the standards of our trade.

Student advocates and school administrators across the country are committing themselves to studying and addressing mental health struggles in their communities. Today, we call our administration and Illinois legal community to join us in our efforts to:
engage law school administrations to take part in facilitating wellbeing and recognizing mental health issues;
listen to the concerns of students and be responsive to their wellbeing and mental health struggles;
build a school atmosphere where wellbeing and mental health is recognized as an immediate issue which deserves attention and resolution.

Today, we Pledge to broaden these efforts and join with other organizations on our campuses that strive to provide better access to care and root out the stigma in a field that often penalizes individuals for seeking help. We Commit to fight for a better mental health environment in the legal education community and we hope you will join us in these efforts. Click here to sign the mental health and wellbeing pledge.

Sincerely,

Richard C. Minott
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Hannah G. Johnson
John Marshall Law School

Victor Zamora
Northern Illinois University College of Law

Mihai F. Chitulescu
University of Chicago Law

Jacob Welch
Southern Illinois University School of Law

Dawn Peacock
Chicago-Kent College of Law

Ashlee Germany
DePaul University College of Law

Brian P. Gibbons
Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Ashley G. Kennedy
University of Illinois College of Law