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Law students facing black dog: ALSA

Law students facing black dog: ALSA

ALSA today sent letters to the Government and Opposition requesting a substantial increase in funding for mental health services for young adults.

THE Australian Law Students’ Association (ALSA) today sent letters to the Federal Government and Opposition requesting a substantial increase in funding for mental health services for young adults.

The letters highlight the “shortfalls” in funding for mental health services aimed at young adults.

The plight of law students, who are “especially affected” by mental health problems, was raised by ALSA.

A recent study conducted by the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Sydney University has shown that 41 per cent of law students suffer form psychological distress severe enough to justify clinical assessment. It showed that the incidence of distress among law students is significantly higher than among the general population.

ALSA said that although both the government and Opposition have made commitments to increasing services should they win the election, additional funding is needed to bring the quality of mental health services up to that of physical health services.

ALSA pointed to the Government’s proposed mental health funding package, announced this week, which it said does not include the funds for the services recommended by the experts as necessary to properly treat young Australians suffering from mental illness.

The letters also outline the economic loss for the nation resulting from mental illness among Australia’s youth.

In its letter to Julia Gillard, ALSA wrote: “This is particularly important for the law students we represent, where anecdotal evidence suggests that some law students suffering from untreated mental illness never enter the workforce, which could account for the ‘improvement’ in mental health statistics for practicing lawyers as opposed to law students.

“This is not only a human tragedy and a social problem, but also a serious economic problem as a significant government investment into the education of these students is lost to preventable mental illness.”

ALSA has been actively involved in combating depression in law schools through a variety of methods. Adequate funding for mental health services available to young people is only one of these methods. ALSA is already working with representatives of law schools across the country and into the legal profession to improve the mental health of all 28 000 law students it represents.

The letters are available from ALSA’s website at

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