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Health & Wellness
The goal of the Office of Student Affairs is to both promote general mental health and wellness and to facilitate the use of mental health resources that the university at large offers. We encourage students to understand their overall wellness in terms of eight particular dimensions: emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual, and environmental. YLS and Yale University offer a variety of programming and resources to help people find fulfillment in each of these eight areas.
The Office of Student Affairs works to publicize these resources to students, offer additional resources for the YLS community specifically, and help students access these resources in order to find the balance that will help them stay healthy and well, both during their time in Law School and after graduation. If you have questions about these eight dimensions of wellness or about finding balance in your life generally, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Ellen Cosgrove.
For students facing more serious mental illness, medical care is required. Although YLS itself is unable to provide this care, OSA works to help students to obtain appropriate medical care. For instance, OSA can serve as a liaison between students and mental health professionals as necessary, to help students who are in the process of receiving the medical attention they need. Also, as noted below, OSA staff offer counseling services, for students facing both routine and more extreme personal and academic issues. These meetings are designed to help with broader health and wellness—they are not intended to substitute for medical counseling from a trained therapist or psychiatrist—but they help OSA to steer at-risk students toward appropriate services and treatment.
For more information, please click on any of the eight dimensions of wellness listed below:
Wellness at YLS
Emotional: It is important to be able to cope effectively with life, and create satisfying relationships, in order to achieve the balance necessary to be mentally healthy and well. Emotional wellness involves being aware of and accepting your feelings; adjusting to change, both good and bad; coping with stress; and enjoying life despite occasional disappointments and frustrations.
What YLS Offers:
- Lunchtime programs such as Stress Management, designed to help students cope with stresses faced on a regular basis.
- Personal counseling with members of the Office of Student Affairs, designed to provide assistance and advice for dealing with challenges.
- A rotating group of YLS therapy dogs, who can be “checked out” by law students. Therapy dogs have been shown to reduce stress and increase overall emotional well-being.
- Access to the Yale Stress Center, which offers a variety of services that promote stress reduction and optimize health functions.
- Assistance from Title IX coordinators, any of whom can be contacted for help by YLS students.
- For situations where professional counseling would be helpful, students can receive confidential counseling through the Mental Health & Counseling Department at the Yale Health Center.
Financial: Satisfaction with current and future financial situations is a part of overall wellness and balance, even for students. Especially given the significant expense of law school, it is important to keep in mind how you manage the day-to-day stress of living on a budget, along with having a plan for whatever your financial situation may be after law school. Financial stresses can be significant, especially when accumulating educational debt, and managing them from the start is the best way to promote wellness in this area.
What YLS Offers:
- One-on-one counseling with the Financial Aid Office to discuss both current and future financial planning.
- A series of lunchtime events with presentations from the Financial Aid Office, focusing both on managing your money while you are in law school, and creating an effective plan for after graduation.
- One of the most generous loan repayment assistance programs in the country.
Social: In terms of happiness in your social life, it is vital to develop a sense of connection and belonging, and to have a well-developed support system. In the unique environment of YLS, it is very helpful to have classmates and colleagues who truly understand what it’s like to be here, and the inherent stresses and pressures that come along with the privilege of being at this institution.
What YLS Offers:
- A variety of social events designed to promote community among YLS students, faculty, and staff, for instance:
- Community Picnics
- Trivia Night
- Sushi Night
- Student Recitals
- Annual Hoedown
- Mardi Gras Event
- Funding for over 50 different student groups and organizations, covering a wide variety of interests and activities.
- Programs for first-term students that connect them with upper-level students, including Dean’s Advisors, Coker Fellows, and the YLS Mentor Program.
- A Director of Student Life and Director of Student Affairs who work with students on a daily basis, and can help you connect with your classmates.
Spiritual: Spiritual wellness involves understanding your sense of purpose and meaning in life. It is a personal journey, and could involve prayer, meditation, affirmations, or specific spiritual practices that are meaningful. Students are exposed to many new opportunities at YLS, and it can be difficult to prioritize among these options and choose the best path for you. Using values, beliefs, and principles to help ground your decisions and actions can lead to balance and overall wellness.
What YLS Offers:
- Weekly free meditation sessions at YLS, many of which are led by a Level 2 certified ParaYoga® teacher.
- Access to the Yale University Chaplain’s Office, a multi-faith organization that provides pastoral care, educates on faith-related topics, and hosts interfaith student groups and events.
- A number of student groups that are centered on various religious faiths, which plan activities and events around religious holidays and on topics related to spirituality.
Occupational: As you move into the work force, it will be important to find personal satisfaction and enrichment from that work. While your time at YLS may be dominated more by the intellectual than the occupational, we look to help you identify professional paths that will fulfill you after leaving YLS, and gain skills that will provide you entry into that field. When the problem is having too many options, the various resources at YLS can likewise help you discover which of those many opportunities you should focus on.
What YLS Offers:
- A broad array of classes, clinics, externships, extracurriculars, and independent study programs.
- One-on-one counseling with the Career Development Office or Office of Student Affairs for career path guidance and academic planning. CDO offers specialists in various career areas that can help with almost any career goal.
- Numerous YLS publications about various career options.
- An extensive alumni network, including over 17,000 alums who have offered to discuss their career paths with current students.
- A detailed survey of career satisfaction among YLS’s graduates so that students can assess which career choices may produce the best chances of a satisfying career.
- A wide variety of career-related panels held throughout the academic year.
Physical: Part of overall health includes regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep. With the time pressures of schoolwork and extracurriculars, it is easy for these areas to be neglected, often with the thought that the time spent sleeping, cooking something healthy, or going for a walk could be better spent elsewhere. However, without these physical elements of wellness, it becomes harder to perform at a high level in the long-term. No one thinks that jogging or a salad will cure serious mental illness. However, it is important to recognize that they do improve general well-being, which affects overall mental health.
What YLS Offers:
- Healthy options in the dining hall, including fresh vegetables and fruit every day, plus a variety of vegetarian and vegan selections.
- Free access to the Payne Whitney Gym (PWG), only a five minute walk from YLS.
- Free fitness classes every Friday at PWG for law students only, such as yoga, boot camp, and more.
- Intramural sports, such as softball, volleyball, and Frisbee, that offer students the opportunity to interact with the broader Yale student community.
Intellectual: A cornerstone of being a fulfilled person is intellectual growth, recognizing creative abilities, and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills. YLS is proud to offer unsurpassed opportunities for intellectual growth and development in almost any field imaginable, including the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary studies and independent research topics.
What YLS Offers:
- Almost 200 courses taught by more than 60 full-time faculty and dozens of visiting faculty, lecturers, and adjunct professors.
- A low student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of under 20 students.
- Daily guest lectures and events with visiting experts and leaders in a broad array of fields.
- Reference librarians available to help with legal research and using legal resources.
- The ability to take classes outside of the Law School on any number of broad topics.
Environmental: Good health is promoted when you occupy pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to environmental wellness – each person has to find what works best for him or her. Some people may find that they focus best in the quiet environment of the law library, while others may enjoy the bustle of New Haven’s music venues, theatres, bars, or restaurants. The key is to discover what environment promotes balance and wellness for you personally.
What YLS Offers:
- A wide range of facilities, including fully renovated and updated classrooms, serene courtyards, a dining hall, and a dedicated student lounge.
- Many courses that permit students to take their exams in any location, in the YLS building or beyond, allowing you to work in the space most comfortable for you.
- A location right in the heart of the Yale campus, allowing for easy access to the libraries, courtyards, and study spaces of other Yale buildings.
- A private room for use by nursing mothers.