LGBT Bar launches new campaign to help law students manage stress

The National LGBT Bar Association - the country's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied legal professionals - unveiled a new online campaign today to provide students preparing for the February bar examination with tools, resources and advice for managing stress while preparing for their exam. The #BarLove campaign, online at LGBTBar.org/BarLove, includes an online "Valentine's Card" for students, outlining steps students can take to find help.

"The bar exam is both a rite of passage and an intensely stressful experience for law students," said D'Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of The LGBT Bar. "That stress can often translate into real danger. A recent study found that 32% of law school students suffer from depression by the end of their first year. That number increases to 40% by graduation. So we wanted to give students resources for dealing with those issues, while reminding them that they are not alone. A Valentine's Card emphasizing self-care and community resources seemed like the perfect vehicle to do that."

Brian Clarke, an assistant professor at Charlotte School of Law, recently wrote in Business Insider that, "a third or more of our students are struggling with mental illnesses that are exacerbated . . . by the significant stresses of law school." Chief among those stresses for many students is the bar examination.

Beginning today, anyone can use the #BarLove campaign to share resources, advice and information with students by visiting LGBTBar.org/BarLove and sharing the special bar exam "Valentine." The Bar's Valentine includes information on who to call in a crisis; how to find local LGBT-affirming support; and free online tools for managing stress and making positive plans.

"We are encouraging everyone who knows a law student to share the #BarLove and show our future attorneys that there's no bar to what they can do," Kemnitz said.

Published: Tue, Feb 10, 2015

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