Law Student Wellness and Mental Health

There’s a new resource that aims to assist Ontario law students with issues relating to “stress, anxiety, and other wellness and mental health concerns.” JustBalance, which received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities, was developed by the Osgoode Hall Law School in collaboration with law faculties at the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa (Common Law Section), University of Windsor, Queen’s University, Western University and Lakehead University.

Melanie Banka Goela, Osgoode’s Student Success and Wellness Counsellor, led this initiative which began with a survey of law students who were asked what they might want to have available in a resource like this. Issues identified included: navigating law school culture, not feeling cut out for law, feeling stressed, worrying about the future, and their relationships and personal life. Student comments and testimonials have also been included which provides a personal and supportive atmosphere along with the other information provided on the site.

The website helps students identify their concerns and offers advice and tips to consider when dealing with various symptoms. For example one of the things JustBalance suggests when students are feeling stressed is to take, “breaks for recreation and relaxation – they help you refocus and work more productively.” Or “mindfulness, meditation, exercise, medication, therapy, peer support or a combination of these resources” might help students experiencing burnout or depression.

There’s also a nice summary of the roles and functions of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers under the “I’m feeling overwhelmed” concern and a self-care assessment worksheet helps students to “make yourself a priority.” Students are also provided with a list of resources available on-campus through their individual schools or externally at other institutions. There is also an “In crisis?” tab that directs students to the JustBalance Crisis Centre where they can find immediate assistance.

In the Osgoode Hall Law School media release Dean Lorne Sossin describes JustBalance as “a really important new resource” and “a forum for exploring the systemic and personal issues facing today’s law students in a way that is both relevant and meaningful.”

Although aimed at law students this website looks like it will be a helpful for resource for university students from any discipline.

“Keep balanced and stay well!”