Mental health for law students during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • June 17, 2020
  • Clare Yacyshyn

Law school is an incredibly stressful environment in general, and stress levels have been escalating drastically as COVID-19 continues to spread. Personal and family tragedy, massive uncertainty, widespread fear, job loss and financial difficulty have been added to the standard law school stresses of exam anxiety, student debt and securing employment. Several law students have lost their summer employment, and many recent graduates have seen their articling experience negatively affected or lost as a result of COVID-19.

As we are all under a great deal of stress, it is a crucial time to take care of our mental health. Here are some ideas which may help law students exercise self-care during this incredibly difficult time.

Mental health

Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has a wealth of reliable information available to help people cope with mental health concerns caused or exacerbated by the current crisis. Information includes advice on how to cope with quarantine and isolation, how to manage fear and anxiety, and how to support loved ones, among several other topics.

The Canadian Bar Association also provides resources specific to law student mental health, including links to websites which offer tools to help with mental health concerns during COVID-19.

The Law Society of Ontario offers access to the Member Assistance Program for law students in Ontario.

Meditation/Wellbeing apps and websites

Law students may find that meditation helps them enhance focus and manage anxiety. Several meditation apps are currently offering free trials, and meditations tailored to concerns arising from COVID-19.

  • Balance is offering a free year of access to its meditation app.
  • Simple Habit is offering a free month of access to its meditations, many of which are Covid-19 specific.
  • Headspace offers free COVID-19 specific meditations.      
  • Mindshift is a free app offering meditations and mental health support.
  • Sanvello is a meditation app currently offering free premium access.
  • Positive News is a website which students can visit to view uplifting news.

Healthy eating

When we feel stressed, it is tempting to turn to fast and convenient foods. However, it is important to keep in mind that eating healthy can help us reduce stress and enhance focus. Study breaks can be a time to recharge by enjoying simple and nutritious meals.

  • Bon Appetit offers several ideas for delicious and healthy meals.

Physical Fitness

Physical health is incredibly important for stress reduction.

Staying connected with friends and family

Online communication with supportive friends and family is especially important right now. It can help to reassure us that we are not alone and that we are cared for. Take steps to combat the loneliness that can result from social distancing by utilizing tools such as skype and facetime to connect with supportive people in your life.

Online study tools

There are several free online study tools available.

  • GoConqr is a website where students can create mind maps, and use flashcards to help them study.
  • Pomodoro online study timers are another tool students can use to maintain their focus and motivation.

Skype study sroups

Study groups can help law students incorporate different perspectives, motivate each other, and share expertise. Students can move study groups online in order to replicate this experience as much as possible.

Something to keep in mind

Keep in mind that although these times are very difficult, social distancing is a temporary measure. We are all experiencing fear and uncertainty, but we will get through this together as a community. In the meantime, use methods such as the ones above to exercise some much-deserved self-care.

Clare Yacyshyn is a law student at University of New Brunswick. She is a member of both the Law Students and Young Lawyers Sections.