A plant shaped like a brain in a white pot

April 11, 2023

Law school makes important step to supporting student mental wellness

$100K gift will support students on their paths to healthy legal careers

Psychological distress, depression, anxiety, burnout, and suicidal ideation are just some of the negative mental health issues lawyers struggle with regularly, according to research conducted at Quebec’s Sherbrooke University. And according to a survey of 2018 law school graduates, 55 per cent report that COVID and the economic crisis impacted their mental health and well-being.   

Not surprisingly, law students often struggle with these same issues. Without proper supports before they enter the profession, these struggles will follow them as they begin their careers.   

According to a survey of UCalgary Law students conducted in the fall of 2022, 77 per cent of students have experienced challenges to their mental health since coming to law school, and more students reported dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, burnout, sleeplessness, loneliness and negative self-talk.   

"After coming through COVID, students made it clear that their mental health and well-being were a priority for them,” says Joel Tallerico, a third-year student and president of the Society of Law Students. “Students are no longer willing to put their mental health and well-being as a second priority to their studies.”  

Joel Tallerico is the president of the Society of Law Students

Third-year law student Joel Tallerico has been a strong advocate for students and their well-being during his tenure as president of the Society of Law Students.

Programming possible thanks to law firm gift 

The Faculty of Law hopes to change these statistics and is on the path to improving supports and enhancing the mental well-being of law students, thanks to the generous support of Lawson Lundell LLP, one of Western Canada’s leading law firms. The $100,000 gift will support timely and responsive counselling services for students and proactive educational tools to bolster resilience and build the foundation of wellness vital to future success.   

“The reality is that the services and initiatives students need cost money — money that the faculty, student groups, or volunteer organizations just don't have on their own without outside support. I can confidently say that the generous donation by Lawson Lundell will make a meaningful impact in improving student well-being and mental health,” says Tallerico  

“As a people-first law firm, Lawson Lundell takes mental health and wellness seriously, and we take active steps to provide support accordingly,” says Grant Vogeli, KC, a partner at the firm. “We work closely with UCalgary Law on student recruitment, and we are encouraged to see that the University of Calgary is making efforts to ensure their students have the mental health resources they need.

“As lawyers, we recognize the stress that students experience, and we feel it is important to do our part by supporting UCalgary Law’s student mental health and wellness initiatives,” he adds.  

Angela Gallo-Dewar, Assistant Dean, Academic & Student Services

Angela Gallo-Dewar is the assistant dean, academic and student services at the Faculty of Law.

Faculty of Law files

Excited for opportunities to set students up for success 

Angela Gallo-Dewar, LLB’89, the law school’s assistant dean of student services, regularly works with students who are dealing with a variety of stressors and mental-health and wellness issues. She’s grateful for the possibilities this gift brings to the law school to help set students up for success as they begin their legal careers.  

“The importance of this gift cannot be overstated. As a result of Lawson Lundell’s generous donation, we will be able to provide additional resources and support for student mental health initiatives. Supporting and fostering the well-being and resilience of our students will ultimately contribute to a healthier profession.”  

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