McGill Study - Mental Health Survey

Mental Health Survey

After years of hard work, HLM conducted a scientific study of student psychological health at McGill Law in 2017. Partnering with a team of organizational psychologists, the report provides recommendations for improving student well-being based on their evaluation and expertise. The impact of the survey was great, with action being taken on many of the recommendations listed below and in the full report (found here).

Please note that this document was written in Spring 2017, and does not include an indication of which initiatives have been adopted by McGill University or the Law Students’ Association of McGill.

This report presents the main results and recommendations presented in the May 2017 report of The Healthy Legal Minds Wellness Study conducted by the Institut de recherche en santé psychologique des travailleurs (IRSPT) for Healthy Legal Minds between January and March 2017.

 

Main Conclusions

Two out of 3 McGill Law students experience psychological health challenges, and half of the student body believe that their experience at McGill Law has a negative impact on their well-being. Four main factors may explain this:

Performance culture

• Student body composition (i.e., high-achievers)

• Competition for job placement

• Forced normally distributed grading system

• Pressure to "do it all"

Uneven heavy workload and  lack of clarity regarding expectations

• Heavy workload leaves limited time for self-care

• Unstable and binding class schedule

• Inflexibility of the program and schedule

• Lack of clarity on the evaluation criteria and professors' expectations

• Little feedback from professors makes it hard to improve

Discrimination and bullying

A majority of students reported events of discrimination and bullying in regards to diverging opinions on controversial matters

• Mainly online (i.e., Facebook groups) but also on campus (e.g., in class, in the hallways)

• Students expressing diverging opinions are intimidated and socially rejected

Difficulty of access to  mental health and other services

• Confusion about the available services

• Long wait times at McGill Mental Health Services (3-6 months)

• Rigid bureaucracy makes it difficult to obtain accommodations in time of crisis and/or in prevention of a deteriorating mental health

recommendations

Teaching students how to cope with the performance culture and developing skills that will help them cope in their future careers

• Progressive increase of the workload

• Teach skills to first year students and educate about available resources

Raising awareness in the Faculty, schedule, administrative constraints and pedagogy

• Increase flexibility of the scheduling system

• Clarification of the evaluation criteria and expectations

• Rethink the grading system

Mental health services

• On-campus drop-in hours

• Improvement of the access to on-campus mental health services

• Improvement of the communication to students about the available services

Other possible initiatives

• Mentoring program

• Faculty policy about cyberbullying

• Social events

• Facilitating accommodations for students

• Providing training to all Faculty members (i.e., administrative staff and professors) to raise awareness on mental health issues

To read the full report, click here.