The program includes exercise, yoga and pilates to help students manage stress and anxiety.
The program includes exercise, yoga and pilates to help students manage stress and anxiety.
1 April 2015

Helping students manage the demands of studying law is the aim of a new program at The University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law.

Law school Academic Dean Professor Sarah Derrington said the program had been set up in response to a report which found law students and lawyers had a higher-than-average chance of suffering from depression and mental illness..

The TCB Wellness Program is aimed at first-year students and includes activities such as yoga and pilates to help students manage stress and anxiety.

It includes access to tutors to discuss study and personal problems, stress seminars, exercise tips and a series of videos offering advice for successfully navigating law school. 

“Learning to manage stress needs to be as much a part of a law student’s skill set as mooting, researching and critical thinking,” Professor Derrington said.

“It is well known that law students and members of the legal profession can be prone to high levels of psychological distress and depression.

“As well as teaching the law, we’ll also be teaching ways to cope with the workload and expectations that come with a first-class education.

“Speaking about this issue needs to start in law schools and continue in the profession.

“We are starting to see this with people like Justice Shane Marshall, who recently spoke out about his career-long battle with depression.”

Justice Marshall’s interview on ABC Radio National’s Background Briefing can be heard here.

The Council of Australian Law Deans has identified assisting students in this way as a key priority and UQ’s pilot pastoral care program matches others in the world’s leading law schools. 

The program includes a research survey from the UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences to track changes in the health and wellbeing of the first-year students of 2015. More than 80 per cent of students responded to the initial survey.

The program is part of the school’s commitment to improving the student experience and in recognition of the CALD Good Practice Guidelines for Law Schools. It was partly inspired by the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation, which was set up in memory of a young Sydney law student.

Students can access the TCB Wellness website, meet personal tutors, or attend seminars on strategies for minimising stress.

“We aim to help law students build a supportive environment for each other,” Professor Derrington said.

The first seminar, held last week and run by psychiatrist Dr Marian Sullivan, focused on studying and anxiety.

The UQ Law Graduates Association and the Law School have compiled the Surviving Law School video series, featuring current students, Supreme Court judges, barristers and law firm partners.

The videos provide insights about law school and advice for first-year students.

Contact: Nadine Davidson-Wall, TC Beirne School of Law, +61 7 3346 9263,