DrPlacebo wrote:I still have to disagree. Depression is something to be cautious about, but not to automatically avoid talking about. Obviously it's a bad idea to focus on it, but the overcoming can be very important.
Besides, considering that you have more than a 1 in 3 chance of being diagnosed with depression in law school even if you have no past history of mental illness, if you can show that you can handle it well, that may even be a plus, especially if you were doing something comparable to 1L. (Yes, there are things that 99% of people would find harder and more stressful than 1L.) I'd submit that any school that sees depression as a big negative is one you don't want to go to in the first place.
You are still wrong.
There is no benefit and enormous risk to doing so. I am not speaking from an uninformed position: I have spoken with admissions officers and read articles about the effect of mental health disorders on admissions considerations. You can make all of the policy arguments you want about why it shouldn't matter, but it does. The fact of the matter for is that for 90% of applicants personal statement won't make or break you, so you would be a god damned fool to introduce a topic that many admissions officers are worried about in your personal statement.
I'm not going to bother with prudential arguments: it is a fact that given an array of qualified applicants admissions officers may well pass over those with documented mental health issues. Good? Bad? Right? Wrong? Smart? Foolhardy? It doesn't matter, it is the way of things.
How hard is it to write about something else? I suppose if your resume is full of depression advocacy and unexplained 3 year gaps while you were being treated you might be shoe-horned into addressing it, but in all other circumstances just pick another topic of interest.
Personal statement Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm.