Survey shows law students suffer high stress
MEDIA RELEASE – For immediate use, 4 September 2013
NZLSA mental wellbeing survey shows law students suffer high stress
Over 60% of New Zealand law students believe their studies have resulted in high stress levels, according to a New Zealand Law Students’ Association national survey.
The NZLSA has released results of a mental wellness survey of 880 law students from each of the country’s six law schools which it conducted in June 2013.
The purpose of the survey was to gain a picture of law students’ mental health to determine whether any issues existed and, if so, how NZLSA should act in response.
When asked if they have a high level of stress as a student, 63.5% of respondents said they had high levels of stress mainly from being a student, 23% attributed stress to areas of life other than being a student, and 13.5 per cent said they didn’t feel stress.
40% said legal study was a direct cause, with a further 55% saying it was at least a moderate cause.
NZLSA president Seamus Woods says the results showed a quarter of the students surveyed developed a clinical mental health disorder since starting at university.
He says of those, one in six affected students believe their law studies were a direct cause of their illness, and a further half of affected students cite being a law student as a contributing factor. The disorders recorded include depression, anxiety, eating disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
“These are disappointing, although unsurprising, results. But now that we have some home-grown evidence on the table, NZLSA can properly commit its time and resources to addressing this problem.
“NZLSA clearly sees its role as doing what it can to protect the mental health and wellbeing of New Zealand’s law students, and coordinating regional Law Student Societies to do the same,” Mr Woods says.
As a first step, the NZLSA/ DLA Phillips Fox Mental Wellness Guidebook for New Zealand Law Students has been published, providing holistic methods and study techniques on how to cope when things get tough.
Hard copies of the guidebook will be distributed to each of the six law schools, and an online copy will also be available at www.nzlsa.co.nz.