Most people know from the outset that law school will be tough, but many lack resources for adequately coping with the stresses law school can bring. Studying law is a rigorous and ruthlessly competitive undertaking, and can cause mental health repercussions before your law career has even begun. Studies are now revealing that for many of us, the process we go through in law school changes us at a fundamental level. And for many of us, this change may be accompanied by depression and severe anxiety (also supported by recent studies).
Unfortunately, we are seeing a sharp increase in the misuse and overuse of prescription medications for anxiety (benzodiazepines like Xanax), or for improved concentration (stimulants like Adderall). Law students may find themselves in trouble with drug or alcohol problems early on due to use of these kinds of prescription medications or recreational drugs as a primary coping mechanism. Use of these kinds of medications or drugs, combined with moderate amounts of alcohol, greatly increases the chances of severe impairment requiring treatment.
For those law students struggling with issues of depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol problems or other mental health issues, the LAP is here to help. We offer a full range of resources and solutions to help you manage your issues in the short and long term. Every service provided through the LAP is 100% confidential and 100% free.
What does LAP do?
We help law students deal with and recover from a wide range of issues including, but not limited to:
- stress, burnout, and work life balance
- depression and suicide
- anger management
- compassion fatigue
- substance abuse
- process addictions (like food, gambling or sex)
- grief and loss
Our trained staff provides short-term counseling and crisis management, intervention assistance, assessments, referrals to outside resources (such as therapists and treatment centers), long-term aftercare case management and follow up, on-going support, or just a safe space to discuss your issues.
The LAP has a network of law student and lawyer volunteers throughout the state who have recovered from these very same issues and who assist law students who are just beginning their own journey of recovery. These LAP volunteers gather together at lawyer peer discussion support groups that meet throughout the state. Many volunteers and clients report that peer support is one of the most important tools for a law student who is struggling with any issue. Just knowing you are not alone and that others have struggled with the same issue and emerged stronger on the other side can offer meaning and a renewed sense of hope as one begins the journey of recovery.
Special note on character and fitness.
When you apply for admission to the bar of any state, you must affirmatively demonstrate that you have the character and fitness necessary to be an officer of the court and be placed in a position of fiduciary trust to your clients. If you have drug and alcohol related charges and arrests in your past (even if they were dismissed or expunged or even if they occurred long ago and you are clean and sober now) or if you have had unusual conduct or consequences due to any mental health conditions, it is advised that you contact the LAP as soon as possible upon entering law school. The LAP will work with you and can help guide you in this process if you are willing to follow clinical recommendations and are sincere about your recovery.
How do I know if I should contact the LAP?
The LAP provides comprehensive assistance for any issue law students face. Whether you just need help coping with day-to-day anxieties, or you are suffering from drug or alcohol problems or suicidal thoughts, we are here to help. There is no issue too big or too small.
These conditions are highly treatable, especially in the early stages. Asking for help, however, runs counter to our legal training and instincts. Most law students enter the profession to help others and believe they themselves should not need help. The good news is that all it takes is a phone call. The LAP works exclusively with lawyers, judges and law students and has been a trusted resource for thousands of lawyers in overcoming these conditions.
If you are concerned about the well-being of a law school classmate, you can also contact the LAP to give an anonymous and confidential referral. We will never reveal your name to anyone unless you want us to disclose your name as part of an intervention. Please see our confidentiality guarantee in the green tab on the right which assures your communication is treated as confidential.
The LAP offers support at all stages.
One of the primary goals of the LAP is to provide assistance to law students before any of these problems become debilitating. Contacting the LAP before a problem escalates is one of the best investments you can make, which is why we offer counseling, support, and referrals to any North Carolina law student seeking our services.
If you are suffering from substance abuse, depression, or other mental health issues, you are not alone. The quicker you recognize the issue and ask for help, the quicker you will be on the road to recovery. Contact the LAP today.