Western Law

Health, Wellness & Support Services

Just Balance LogoA legal education at Western encompasses more than just attending lectures and studying for exams. It includes a healthy lifestyle to keep the mind, the body, the spirit, and our emotions in balance. We call this balance "wellness." At Western Law, we believe that this balance is important to ensure that you have all the necessary tools to thrive through the intensity of law school and beyond.

This website is intended to promote student wellness and to assist students in finding the resources they need to help cope with the stresses of law school. You will also find links to University and local services that are available to students who suffer from mental illness or addiction, or who have been the victims of sexual violence.

Why Health and Wellness?

Message from the Associate Dean

Erika ChamberlainThe study of law is an exciting and challenging experience. At Western Law, we pride ourselves on offering a rigorous academic program, as well as opportunities to get involved with student government, clinical programs, advocacy training, intramural sports, and other extra-curricular activities. However, these demands on students’ time can sometimes be overwhelming, particularly when combined with career pressures and the natural desire to maintain a personal life.

This website is intended to promote student wellness and to assist students in finding the resources they need to help cope with the stresses of law school. Within Western Law, our Student Services Office can help to address individual students’ concerns in a way that is effective, compassionate and fair. In addition, our student Wellness Committee and Peer Support program can help you to find healthy ways to alleviate stress and provide a friendly, confidential place to talk about whatever issues you are facing.

At Western Law, we highly value our strong sense of community and the mutual support that our faculty, staff and students provide to each other. Yet we also understand that, despite our best efforts, some students still suffer adverse effects in terms of their physical and mental health. On this website, you will also find links to University and local services that are available to students who suffer from mental illness or addiction, or who have been the victims of sexual violence.

It is important for you to cultivate habits of wellness now so that you are able to thrive in our profession, serve your clients, and lead fulfilling lives. Whether it’s physical exercise, fresh air, music, art, cooking or some other hobby, I encourage you to always make time for yourself. You will be better law students, and better lawyers, for it.

Erika Chamberlain
Associate Dean (Academic)

Message from the Assistant Dean (Student Services)

Mysty ClaptonNot so terribly long ago I walked the halls of Western Law as a student. Despite my advancing age, I still have a good recollection of the challenges I faced and the rewards I reaped during my legal education. One thing I remember particularly vividly is running the gauntlet of curricular, extra-curricular and personal pursuits and the toll that it occasionally took on me. As a student, I sometimes wondered, “How did I get into law school in the first place. I’m not sure I should be here.”

Over the years, I’ve learned that this “imposter syndrome” is not altogether uncommon among law students, which is really quite surprising when you think about it. There’s no question that law students are an impressive bunch of intelligent, high achieving individuals, so why are we often so hard on ourselves?

I don’t profess to have the answer to that vexing question, but I have come to believe that there are many things law students can do to combat the imposter syndrome, alleviate stress and anxiety, and become the healthy, successful professionals that they are capable of being. To that end, we’ve gathered together information and resources that we encourage you to use to help you make your time at Western Law healthy, balanced and successful. Better yet, take the information and resources with you throughout your legal career and your life beyond law school!

Mysty Clapton
Assistant Dean (Student Services)

Message from the Careers Office

Robyn MarttilaHaving been a commercial litigator for almost ten years I understand firsthand what a rewarding yet challenging career law can be.  The work is very intellectually satisfying and the opportunity to resolve clients’ issues gratifying, but if you are not careful the practice can consume you.  With the business structure primarily based on the “billable hour” there is always pressure to work longer hours and at times client demands can be overwhelming. The secret to a long and successful career in the legal profession is to learn how to achieve balance to the extent possible and make a commitment early on to maintain your interests outside of work. There will always be another file, another client to service. Leading a healthy, balanced life and taking care of yourself will not only make you a more productive lawyer but lead to greater career satisfaction.

Robyn Marttila
Director, Career & Professional Development Office

Resources at Western

Western University has a range of services for students seeking advice on health and wellness, counselling services, crises and emergencies, and sexual violence. Read more

Read Western’s Mental Health and Wellness Resource Guide.

Counselling

Law school can be a dynamic, exciting and stimulating experience, with diverse intellectual pursuits and a wealth of new friends and acquaintances. Law school can also be stressful. Students sometimes face personal challenges, such as anxiety, depression, grief, relationship difficulties and substance abuse, all of which negatively impact academic performance. Counselling services can help you work through personal issues, which in turn can help you to improve or maintain your academic performance. 

Western offers counselling services to all students through Student Health Services and the Student Development Centre.

Campus Emergencies

In case of an emergency on campus, please dial 9-1-1 from a campus phone. You will be connected to the Campus Police (CCPS) dispatch, who will dispatch the Student Emergency Response Team and other emergency personnel if necessary.

To contact CCPS on your cell phone, dial 519-661-3300.

Sexual Violence

Western University is committed to providing and maintaining an environment in which sexual violence is not tolerated. For more information on Western’s sexual violence policies, to get help for yourself or someone else, and to report sexual violence, visit Western's Safe Campus website.

Law-Specific Resources

JustBalance

JustBalance is a support site aimed at promoting the well-being of law students in Ontario. 

Ontario Lawyer’s Assistance Program (OLAP)

OLAP is a confidential provincial program for judges, lawyers, law students and their immediate family members. The services that OLAP provides include professional counseling, peer support, assessment, resource information and referrals to specialized programs and centres. OLAP reflects the commitment and acknowledges the responsibility of the legal profession to assist its members who experience personal or professional distress.

Canadian Bar Association – Wellness

Practice Pro-Practice Tools

Lawyers with Depression - Support Site 

Crisis Resources in London

Sexual Assault Centre London: 519.438.2272

Canadian Mental Health Association – Middlesex Crisis Services

  • 24/7 Crisis Line (519.433.2023 or 1.866.933.2023)
  • 24/7 Walk-In Crisis Centre: 648 Huron Street, London