Reports from Around the t-14

In 2018, The Crimson published the results of a mental health survey of students at Harvard Law School. Though not surprising, these numbers indicate the level of stress law students are under while in school.

What follows are the major findings of the survey.


1. Law students indicated they were three times as likely as people in the general population to experience depression.


HLS students reporting depression

25 percent of HLS students reported experiencing depression while in law school.

Prevalence of depression among individuals age 20-39

In the general population, 7.7 percent of individuals 20-39 experience depression. CDC, Prevalence of Depression Among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2013–2016, NCHS Data Brief No. 303, Feb. 2018.

2. Law students indicated a higher incidence of anxiety than in the general population.


Anxiety reported by HLS students

24.4 percent of survey respondents reported anxiety.

Prevalence of any anxiety disorder among adults age 18 and up

19.1 percent of adults experienced an anxiety disorder in the year preceding the study. NIH, Any Anxiety Disorder, accessed Aug. 16, 2018, available at

3. For most students, mental health problems began or changed when they started law school.

66 percent of respondents said that they experienced new mental health challenges during law school.
— The Harvard Crimson

4. For some, law school was an incredibly isolating experience.


8.2 percent stated they had zero people they could open up to about their most private feelings without having to hold back.
— The Harvard Crimson

5. For even more, law school proved to be dangerous.

20.5 percent said they were at heightened risk of suicide.
— The Harvard Crimson

Percent of students reporting heightened risk of suicide

6. For most, law school affected the way they viewed themselves.

Nearly 61.8 percent said they had frequent or intense imposter syndrome experiences at school.
— The Harvard Crimson

Students reporting frequent or intense Imposter Syndrome experiences

See the coverage of the survey here.