Mental Health as PS Topic?

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Mental Health as PS Topic?

Postby TA137 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:20 pm

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to get some feedback on using mental health (in my case, minor depression) as a PS topic. I've seen a few threads on here about this, but they were all pretty old so I thought I'd start a new one.

Like with any PS topic, I'm sure it comes down to how well you present it. I feel like I've been able to frame the topic as a challenge I've overcome and have grown because of. I especially tried to emphasize the strength and maturity it took to start therapy and how it led me to find something I'm passionate about (law). I believe this topic is much more compelling than the other (safer) draft I've written, but I really don't want my PS to raise red flags to adcomms.

I understand that mental health certainly has a stigma and just wanted to see if this is a completely terrible idea. I have a draft completed if anyone would be willing to read, but I would prefer to maintain anonymity. Thanks!

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Re: Mental Health as PS Topic?

Postby arroznueve » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:43 pm

I am happy to look at a draft if you want to send it to me.

However, I would advise you not to write about this topic. The older threads here are not outdated. Writing about topics that you know are risky and that you know can be perceived in the exact opposite way you want them is never a great idea.

In the ideal world, at least to me, you would be able to write about this. I am grateful to hear you have overcome something that a lot of people struggle to even begin treating. I think it would be amazing if you could share your journey and tell a true, raw story.

But in reality, not everyone sees it that way. There will be those who take a liability perspective—asking what if something happens, no matter how outlandish or stereotypical it might be to ask that. There will be those who assume your ability to handle the rigor and stress of law school, even though those assumptions are not for them to make on this particular basis. And there will be those who simply lack of empathy and think that being sick is a weakness, and therefore not be impressed that you recovered from it.

I cannot stress how horrible I think that is. But I also don't want to advise someone to do what I'd like them to be able to do, only for it to backfire because the rest of the world doesn't let them do that yet.

That said, just because you should not make this the focus of your personal statement does not mean you get to hide it. I am sure you are aware of potential character and fitness implications and what that means you may need to disclose now or in the future (this is not to scare you; it's not about your health history being an issue as much as it is about the bar caring that you have always been honest about it).

Again, if you are so willing, I am happy to look at a draft—or at one of your safe drafts. Plainly, I think the latter will be more productive to receive feedback on, because you are more likely going to be submitting that.

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Re: Mental Health as PS Topic?

Postby throwaway1919 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:44 pm

I am also happy to look at a draft. However, I would agree that it is generally not seen as a good idea.

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Re: Mental Health as PS Topic?

Postby TA137 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:12 pm

Thank you all for the responses! I kind of figured that it was a risk not worth taking, but figured I'd get some feedback anyways. I'm going to go with my safer draft.

Regarding C&F, I understand that this is something I may have to disclose in the future. I'm sure it varies state to state, but from what I've read it sounds like you typically only have to disclose serious mental illness (bipolar, major depression, etc.). I really have no problem being honest about it though.

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