a harrowing day at hastings

i received this email yesterday around noon…

Dear Members of the Hastings Community:

As many of you already know a student was in crises today. Security responded promptly and there was a strong police presence at the scene immediately. The student was escorted from the ledge of the Tower, is now safe and receiving support from family, a close friend and health professionals. Several members from the administration, nurses and one of the psychiatrists from Student Health were present and conferred with police throughout the process.

This has been traumatic time for our community. The administration and members of Student Health want to remind you that we are available to meet with you should you need support during this time.

Academic Dean

although i do not know anything about the identity of the student that attempted suicide, & i do not know why or what caused them to step out on that ledge, i do know that it is a stressful season for many. the pressures of exams are mounting up. the library is fuller every day. the worry on students’ faces is more apparent as we inch towards december.

i’ve spoken with many students in my section who – like me – are finding it hard to deal with the anxiety, the constant nagging by those darn outlines, never feeling that we’ll be ready for the day when we have to put down on paper what our professors have crammed into this tiny semester. it all piles so high many of us feel it’s eating into other areas of our life to the extent that we feel only other law students understand.

the student body president sent a letter yesterday, as well. included in it:

Today’s near-tragedy brings focus on the reality of anxiety, depression, and mental health issues that affect all of us. We should all be grateful that Hastings community members were there to intervene at such a precipitous moment. By that same token, we need to acknowledge that any and all of us are vulnerable to the pressures and stress of law school. We all need to look out for one another and be ready to reach out to our peers who may need support.

i understand this ledge-student’s feelings: it’s unbearable at times.

there are many ways students can reach out for help when it feels too much to bear… friends in & out of law school, family, health services. anyone.

take an afternoon off. sleep well. eat healthy foods. it all helps.

perhaps a temporary (or permanent) break from law school is what some students really need.

at any rate, i feel compelled to pass on a few pearls of wisdom i took away from this sad, sad day at hastings:

Suicide is forever. It’s an irrevocable act in response to what are usually temporary problems. If you’re depressed or are having other personal problems … there are people who can and will help you.
(excerpted from a letter by a hastings alum)

i am hoping this close call will wake us all up to the fact that we need to be here for one another. law school & hastings’ strict curve breeds competition. competing with our fellow classmates is fine – to an extent. but when part of our community is suffering from a mental illness or such extreme anxiety, as it is evident that some are, we need to be there to encourage and comfort them.


One Response

  1. […] the ordeals begin, but that is not as much time as it might seem. The pressure has already driven at least one Hastings student to the edge. As a lowly 1L, this will be the first time I’ve taken a law school exam. My testing up till […]

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