Mission and Goals

The Harvard Law School Student Mental Health Association for (hereafter SMHA) will seek the entire HLS student body as its audience, and will be open to any interested student seeking resources or seeking to participate by becoming a member. The SMHA will make its resources available to those living with a mental illness, those concerned about friends or loved ones showing signs or symptoms of a mental illness, those wishing to learn how to best support their clients living with mental illness, and those simply wishing to learn more about mental illness as a global phenomenon. The SMHA will not associate itself with any political party or campaign.


The SMHA will take as its foundational goals:


1)    To provide an understanding, compassionate ear for anyone seeking support

2)    To eliminate mental health stigma in all its forms on the law school campus and in the field of law

3)    To raise awareness of mental health resources on campus

4)    To promote cultural, anthropological, and sociopolitical study of mental health and illness in the global context

5)    To participate in the international mental health rights movement


The SMHA will execute these missions in the short term by:


1)    Developing a mental health listserv devoted to passing around helpful blogs, fun facts, and messages among members

2)    Filling expressed student needs by either bringing requests to the administration and campaigning for policy change, or by answering the need through the resources of the student body itself

3)    Letting ourselves be known as student advocates, raising awareness of resources that currently exist, and creating resources ourselves:

  1. Dean of Students Office
  2. UHS
  3. Peer counseling
  4. Alcoholics Anonymous
  5. Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

4)    Developing our own resources:

  1. Peer counselors on campus
    1. Training
    2. Supervision
  2. Peer support groups

5)    Implementing regular speaker events and panels to sustain discussion of mental health and illness on campus:

  1. Raising awareness of mental health concerns in the workplace / in law / in society in general / and, finally, in the global context
  2. Actively seeking and forming relationships with potential speakers
  3. Co-sponsoring events with Wellness Committee and other campus organization as appropriate (such as the WLA)


Our longer-term goals will include:


1)    Training to become, and providing/training, our own peer counselors and peer support groups leaders

  1. Developing HLS-dedicated peer support groups and peer counseling

2)    Assisting Harvard College Student Mental Health Liaison with their work at UHS and partnering with these liaisons to extend alternative forms of support, such as the undergraduate hotline, to HLS students

3)    Campaigning American Bar Association to remove mental health-related questions from the Bar

4)    Raising funding for, and sponsoring, research projects for students interested in studying mental health and the cultural boundaries of diagnosis in international settings

Community and support for Harvard Law School Students