Suffering in Silence: The Survey of Law Student Well-Being and the Reluctance of Law Students to Seek Help for Substance Use and Mental Health Concerns

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



health and psychological barriers, bar passage


This article reports the results of the Survey of Law Student Well-Being (SLSWB) implemented in spring 2014 at fi fteen law schools around the country. The SLSWB is the first multischool study in over twenty years to address law student use of alcohol and street drugs, and the first-ever multischool study to explore prescription drug use and the mental health concerns and help-seeking attitudes of law students. The results of the study indicate that roughly one-quarter to one-third of respondents reported frequent binge drinking or misuse of drugs, and/or reported mental health challenges. Moreover, the results indicated that significant majorities of those law students most in need of help are reluctant to seek it. The article concludes by discussing how law school administrators and other relevant leaders within the legal academy and legal profession can promote and improve wellness so that law students are better-positioned to find success as law students and to serve their future clients well as lawyers.