Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

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spacejamonvhs

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Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by spacejamonvhs » Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:11 pm

The entirety of my college career was affected by severe depression--the kind where even moving out of bed was something of a Herculean feat. Suicidal thoughts were also constant throughout and it was all rather hellish to deal with to say the least.

Now the good news here is that I fought through much of it and ended up with a 3.8 and a 173 LSAT as well, though my transcript does have some withdrawals, as well as a gap owing to a semester I took off from. It's all a bit of mess, but hopefully not unsalvageable.

I'm rather worried about all of this given that I'll be attempting to get into the T6 primarily--should I mention my issues to provide context to the transcript and GPA or are they small enough to leave aside?

CanadianWolf

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by CanadianWolf » Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:12 pm

Would you admit an applicant who suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts ?

cafesupreme

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by cafesupreme » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:49 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:12 pm
Would you admit an applicant who suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts ?
Next time someone tells you there's no shame in getting treatment, remember people like this still exist.

Just submit a neutral, non offensive personal statement that is well written.

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polareagle

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by polareagle » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:02 pm

spacejamonvhs wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:11 pm
The entirety of my college career was affected by severe depression--the kind where even moving out of bed was something of a Herculean feat. Suicidal thoughts were also constant throughout and it was all rather hellish to deal with to say the least.

Now the good news here is that I fought through much of it and ended up with a 3.8 and a 173 LSAT as well, though my transcript does have some withdrawals, as well as a gap owing to a semester I took off from. It's all a bit of mess, but hopefully not unsalvageable.

I'm rather worried about all of this given that I'll be attempting to get into the T6 primarily--should I mention my issues to provide context to the transcript and GPA or are they small enough to leave aside?
I don't have advice on the PS (I probably wouldn't mention it but don't feel too strongly either way). I would suggest that you consider contacting a character and fitness attorney in the state you're planning to get barred in just to make sure the depression won't pose an issue to you getting barred. My understanding is that depression that's being treated and is under control isn't disqualifying, but you'll likely have to answer questions about it (I guess depending on the state). See page 20 of the NCBE sample application for an example of the sort of question you'll be asked.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by cavalier1138 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:11 am

I wouldn't mention it, unless it directly ties into the kind of advocacy you want to do. But even then, I'd be hesitant to call attention to it for the same reasons mentioned above (there are still a significant number of people who think depression makes people unfit to do any job).

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nixy

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by nixy » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:53 am

CanadianWolf wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:12 pm
Would you admit an applicant who suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts ?
I would, if the rest of their application merited it. Discrimination on the basis of mental illness is crappy.

(That said, I agree that the safest thing is to not mention it. You may need to explain the semester off, and I think you could write an addendum for that purpose explaining the mental health issues, ideally if you can show you've received treatment/have an upward trajectory/the issues you had that semester won't be a problem in law school. But you could also play it safe and refer to "medical issues that have since been resolved" or similar, for the reasons everyone's given. I wouldn't reference the depression in your PS unless your mental health journey is central to why you're going to law school - you want to advocate for people with mental illnesses or something - and it's a crucial part of your whole narrative.)

CanadianWolf

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:13 am

In the real world, talk of suicidal thoughts is disqualifying.

If you don't agree, then just wait until you apply for state bar C&F.

nixy

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by nixy » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:33 am

CanadianWolf wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:13 am
In the real world, talk of suicidal thoughts is disqualifying.

If you don't agree, then just wait until you apply for state bar C&F.
I’ve been admitted for a number of years now, actually, with a history of treatment for depression. The OP didn’t say they currently have suicidal thoughts or that they’re currently incapacitated by depression.

LegallyGinger007

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by LegallyGinger007 » Thu May 27, 2021 2:32 pm

spacejamonvhs wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:11 pm
The entirety of my college career was affected by severe depression--the kind where even moving out of bed was something of a Herculean feat. Suicidal thoughts were also constant throughout and it was all rather hellish to deal with to say the least.

Now the good news here is that I fought through much of it and ended up with a 3.8 and a 173 LSAT as well, though my transcript does have some withdrawals, as well as a gap owing to a semester I took off from. It's all a bit of mess, but hopefully not unsalvageable.

I'm rather worried about all of this given that I'll be attempting to get into the T6 primarily--should I mention my issues to provide context to the transcript and GPA or are they small enough to leave aside?
Don't listen to any of the negativity. I would recommend listening to the "Navigating Law School Admissions" podcast on personal statement where they mention that basically any subject when written well can be appropriate. I suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts, but this did not disqualify me from starting my own successful nonprofit. Essentially, if you feel like it is the way to go then go for it just write clearly and well.

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sparty99

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by sparty99 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:09 pm

spacejamonvhs wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:11 pm
The entirety of my college career was affected by severe depression--the kind where even moving out of bed was something of a Herculean feat. Suicidal thoughts were also constant throughout and it was all rather hellish to deal with to say the least.

Now the good news here is that I fought through much of it and ended up with a 3.8 and a 173 LSAT as well, though my transcript does have some withdrawals, as well as a gap owing to a semester I took off from. It's all a bit of mess, but hopefully not unsalvageable.

I'm rather worried about all of this given that I'll be attempting to get into the T6 primarily--should I mention my issues to provide context to the transcript and GPA or are they small enough to leave aside?
No are you stupid. Plus a 3.8 and 173 LSAT is as good as it gets and you will be accepted into good schools regardless. But if you have depression and sucicidal thoughts, should you really be a lawyer? I have spent the last 24 hours responding to people who work in big law complaining how they can't handle the stress or hours (although they are being melodramatic if you ask me).

obamalaw

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Re: Should I mention mental health issues in my PS?

Post by obamalaw » Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:42 pm

I'm on the fence.

1. I think you could write a kick-ass PS about overcoming your mental health problems. I'd write about how you pulled yourself up and decided to go to law school to become a mental health advocate. However, I would only write this if it is 100% true. If it turns out you are lying about being fully "recovered," it could become a serious problem.

2. An Admissions Committee might think the stress of law school will get to you. To be frank, universities sometimes see students with a pattern of mental health issues a liability. For example, William & Mary has had scandals over students committing suicide for years. It made the college look like they weren't giving enough help. Colleges and universities are businesses; it is all about marketing.

3. You have great scores and you will get into a law school, even if it is a full ride at Cooley.

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