A new website launched last night (8 November) will ensure lawyers and law students struggling with depression do not feel alone, according to the president of New South Wales Young Lawyers (NSWYL).
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly after the NSWYL Mental Health and Wellbeing website's launch, Daniel Petrushnko said he hopes students and young lawyers will feel more supported when they use it.
"We want to get the word out there, to students and those suffering from stress and anxiety, that they are not alone," he said. "We are all in this together."
The website includes numerous facets, including a section in which anonymous young lawyers share their experiences.
One of the profiles features Lisa, 29, who says, "In my fourth year at university, I suffered an episode of major depression. I had always been an anxious and stressed student but had just assumed that was normal and it didn't seem to affect my marks as I was receiving distinctions and high distinctions ... My parents were really scared and took me to see a doctor. I was referred to a psychiatrist who said I had experienced an episode of major depression. She said that it is possible to have depression without there being a triggering event, such as a death in the family or a relationship breakup".
According to Petrushnko, the profiles section is one of the most popular on the site, because people can relate to others' experiences and realise that what they are going through is relatively common.
The site also features information about the prevention and detection of mental illness, statistics, where to seek help, as well as a media and resources section and a section tailored to students.
"The site is not just about the negatives," said Petrushnko. "It is also about awareness building and empowerment."