Professor Bracci has been very kind and accommodating with my mental health issues this semester. She has checked in with me to see how I am doing. She's a kind, caring, professional, and a great professor who knows her craft.
According ot the Canadian Bar Association, recent research shows that legal professionals (and by extension law students) experience rates of psychological distress and anxiety at rates far higher than those in the general population. For lawyers and law students, mental health means finding ways to push back against this trend. Mental well-being allows us to face the challenges of our profession successfully - navigating the demands of legal education, making the most of opportunities for personal and professional development that are presented to us, and, serving our clients with excellence while still maintaining some sense of balance between work and personal life.
It's important to acknowledge distress and anxiety in the context of learning, to model practices that are ameliorative, and to maintain perspective in the context of legal education. For example, educators can help students appreciate that making mistakes is a necessary part of learning - and make room for that in the learning process. Many law students are perfectionists and want to get it right, right out of the gate. The thought of making an error, even while learning something very new, can cause a great deal of anxiety. But errors are useful, as they indicate gaps in one's knowledge base and skill set. When we can see those gaps, and acknowledge them, we have a chance to fill them. This "growth mindset" is fostered by reflective practice and formative feedback - both of which can make errors less anxiety-provoking.
--- Christa Bracci