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Supporting mental health at the UC College of Law

Faculty, students and staff take steps to raise awareness

We all know we need to eat our vegetables and get our shots to be healthy, but sometimes we forget to take care of our most important organ, the amazing human brain.

A 2016/2017 survey at the University of Cincinnati found that 57 percent of students had experienced overwhelming anxiety, and 36 percent had experienced depression so severe that they had difficulty functioning. A recent, nationwide study by the American College Health Association found even higher prevalence.

In response to these frightening statistics about mental health on campus, compassionate individuals at the UC College of Law and across the university at large are taking steps to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and connect people with the help they need.

A variety of programs are now in place to help UC students, such as the newly launched “Mental Health Champions” program.

Mental Health Champions Staci Rucker and Jennie Edelstein

The Mental Health Champion Program was started by the UC Student Government to better equip faculty and staff who may face issues or questions surrounding student's mental health concerns. It solicited faculty and staff interested in becoming ambassadors in order to reduce the stigma of discussing mental health challenges within the UC community and encourage students to get treatment. Ambassadors can also serve as a local source of information about the treatment resources available.

woman smiling

Assistant Dean Staci Rucker

At the UC College of Law, our Mental Health Champions are Assistant Dean Staci Rucker and Program Coordinator Jennie Edelstein. On Jan. 7, they attended an orientation session including an overview of the resources available, speakers from the National Institute of Mental Health and a student panel on mental health.

woman smiling

Program Coordinator Jennie Edelstein

"The thing I appreciated most was the one-on-one component. It gave me a chance to immediately apply what I learned in a realistic role-playing situation," said Edelstein. "I want to be that person who a student can talk to, and know how to help them, so when I saw the opportunity to get some training, I thought it was really important to take it."

"Law school attracts a lot of driven, perfectionist students and those can be good qualities for future lawyers, but a competitive environment can also be stressful and create anxiety around asking for help." said Rucker. "It's so important that we normalize talking about mental health and emotional well-being, to create a space where people feel comfortable enough to reach out and get the help they need."

"This program is important to me because part of professional development is learning not just law and writing and talking to clients—but also how to manage the stress and pressures of a high-stakes job," Rucker added.

Both Rucker and Edelstein stressed that students should feel welcome to speak with them about any concerns they have themselves, or if they believe a close friend may be having difficulty.

Additional Resources

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is the main resource on campus for all mental health needs. Students can call their 24-hour crisis helpline at 513-556-0648, or call the same number during business hours to schedule an appointment. On Mondays from 3-5 pm, a physician from the Counseling and Psychological Services center is on site at the College of Law for a drop-in session called Let's Talk.

The Mind-Body Wellness group, led by professors Christopher Bryant, Sean Mangan, Nancy Oliver and Rachel Smith, takes a proactive approach to mental health. Participants learn to strengthen their wellness and reduce stress and anxiety through techniques including meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises. The group meets weekly and registration is open during the first week of each semester.