June-July 2014 Newsletter

Updates from the Field: Uncommon Counsel


As our law students prepare to take the Bar Exam and as many of our law school partners are using the summer months to plan for next year, the Dave Nee Foundation is also using the summer time to plan and enhance our programs.

The staff of the Dave Nee Foundation has been working on reviewing and analyzing the results from the feedback forms we collect after Uncommon Counsel presentations. In addition to compiling and analyzing aggregate data for all the presentations, we have also been working on individual school reports. In so doing, the reports will allow each law school to see how their school attendee responses compared with our national responses. We anticipate sending each school an individual report before the academic year gears up.

Based on our preliminary findings, we have been able to identify some areas of concern in student responses. For example, 64 percent (64%) of attendees agree or strongly agree that law students do not get help when needed for fear of professional consequences. This statistic tasks us all with reducing stigma associated with mental health issues and with continuing our efforts on the Starr Initiative to alter character and fitness questions. As one attendee stated “Keep having presentations and lobby the ABA and character and fitness people to recognize treatment for depression is a good thing, and that legal professionals are people too. Thanks.” (Northern Kentucky University, Chase School of Law, 2L)

Interpreting the data also helps us to see what students feel about the Uncommon Counsel format and mandated mental health programming. Seventy-seven percent (77%) agree or strongly agree that the Uncommon Counsel program should be mandatory. Further, one attendee wrote, “I think this presentation would be great around/after final grades. The day I received grades and the week afterwards I was certainly experiencing depression. While another suggested, “Give presentation to new 1Ls during orientation and outgoing 3LS before graduation.” (Duke University School of Law, 2L)

Most important, the data lets us know that with each presentation we are staying true to our mission of raising awareness about mental health issues, how to recognize when someone needs help, and how to intervene when needed. We believe that our presentations equip faculty, staff, and students with the knowledge and resources to save lives.
Time to Schedule Uncommon Counsel for the Fall and Spring Semesters!
If you are considering hosting an Uncommon Counsel presentation at your school this upcoming academic year or would like to learn more about Uncommon Counsel, please contact Katherine Bender, PhD, Programming Director at KBender@daveneefoundation.org today!

Update on the Law School Well-Being Survey Project
In addition to analyzing our own data and attending professional development events and training, Kate continues to work with Jerry Organ, JD, Associate Director of the Halloran Center for Ethical Leadership at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and David Jaffe, JD, Associate Dean of Students, American University, Washington College of Law, on our collaborative Law School well-being survey project.

The 15 schools participating in the study were chosen to represent demographically varying types of law schools, so that the results can be generalized to most law schools and law students. The survey asked law students about their substance use, mental health, and willingness to seek treatment when needed for themselves or for others. Our hope is that the results will enable us to assist law schools on instilling best practices.

Suicide Prevention Research and Resources

While we have always known that educating law school peers is an important way to reduce stigma and increase suicide prevention, Kate recently attended a lecture hosted by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (http://www.sprc.org/) about promoting help seeking behavior on campus, which reiterated this with recent data.

Data from the Healthy Minds (http://caps.umich.edu/article/healthy-minds-study) survey—shared during the lecture—indicated that two-thirds of students find encouragement from others to get help to be very important. The survey results also found that 90 percent (90%) of students who had at one time been suicidal, but did not seek help on their own, said that encouragement from others influenced them to get help. This suggests that continuing to train law students on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, the warning signs of suicide and the resources that are available to them is increasingly more important.

Attending professional development lectures, this month again reiterates the need for our work to be done in collaboration. We offer best practices to our law school partners. We continue to urge our law school partners to work in conjunction with student leaders, counseling services on campus, and the state lawyer assistance program. We would also encourage regular communication with academic support services and/or financial aid services. Often some of the symptoms of a mental illness may show itself in the academic or financial areas of a student’s life. While we fully endorse LawLifeline (http://www.lawlifeline.org/) , we also recommend that schools consider the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’sInteractive Screening Program. (http://www.afsp.org/the-interactive-screening-program)

We also encourage law schools to view theHealthy Minds study data reports (http://data.healthymindsnetwork.org/user_sessions) . These reports include data between 2007 and 2014 for over 100 colleges and universities. It is possible to look at the social and behavioral indicators like levels of depression, anxiety, binge drinking, therapy use in aggregate via the online interactive tool. More importantly, one can look at the results by field of study to see how law students’ rates compare with other professional student rates.

Finally, we encourage our law school partners to consider joining the ongoing Healthy Minds Network study (http://www.healthymindsnetwork.org/research/data-for-researchers) , which costs anywhere from $500-$3,000 depending on school size.

Thank you, Uncommon Counsel Regional Sponsors
Mr. Davidson T. Gordon, Mr. & Mrs. Amit Shashank, and Mr. & Mrs. John W. Van Dyke sponsored Uncommon Counsel in the Midwest.
Mr. & Mrs. Owen Nee sponsored Uncommon Counsel on the West Coast.
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Vermillion sponsored Uncommon Counsel in Texas.
Elizabeth J. Kanter and Gerry, Rosie & Brian Reidy sponsored Uncommon Counsel in the South.

We deeply appreciate your commitment to our work. If you are interested in sponsoring an Uncommon Counsel presentation, please contact Rachael Barrett at Rbarrett@daveneefoundation.org.

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters of the DC Trivia Night Challenge
Thank you to everyone who came out on Monday, July 7th for DC Trivia Night Challenge. It was our largest Trivia Night yet and we are so grateful for the support from Washington DC’s preeminent law firms.

Hosted by Hill Country and with the Trivia Contest led by District Trivia, 19 teams went through five grueling rounds. The winning team, “Table of Authorities” representing White & Case LLP, took away the winning trophy!

Prominent firms included Arent Fox, Baker Botts, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Case & White, Holland & Knight, Mayer Brown, Saul Ewing, Steptoe & Johnson, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and Winston & Strawn.

Thanks also to Potomac River Running Club, Shake Shack and Sephora (Soho, NY) for donating items for our raffle!

Sephora and the Dave Nee Foundation

Sephora Values Inside Out Campaign: The Values Inside Out Program matches individual Sephora USA, Inc. (“Sephora”) stores with local nonprofits.

Each store had the opportunity to select a nonprofit they feel passionate about and help by supporting fund raising, increasing awareness, and volunteering to help that organization fulfill its individual goals over the course of 2014.

The Dave Nee Foundation is so pleased to have been chosen as a charity of choice for Sephora’s Values Inside Out 2014 Campaign and to be working with Sephora’s Soho NYC store at 555 Broadway, New York, NY.

Upcoming Events
If you are a Trivia fan, please consider joining for the 2014 Dave Nee Trivia Night Challenge NYC. It will be held at Butterfield 8, at Five East 38th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues on Tuesday, July 29th from 6PM to 9PM

Save the Date for our annual Gala! Held at Fordham Law School’s new building in Lincoln Center on Saturday, October 11, 2014. For more information or to learn about sponsorship or ticket availability, please visit our website (http://daveneefoundation.org/events/annual-fall-gala/) .
Update: A Dave Nee Foundation Special Fundraiser: A Big Dave Nee Foundation “Thank You!” to Susan Rosenthal who is raising money for us! This September, Susan is walking the Philadelphia Rock & Roll half marathon. Her goal was to raise $1,000 for the Dave Nee Foundation, which was quickly met! Susan then increased her goal to $2,000 and is almost there. Go here to support Susan and the Dave Nee Foundation (http://www.razoo.com/story/Susan-Rosenthal-Walking-To-Eliminate-The-Stigma-Of-Depression) . Thank you Susan and to all who have donated!

A Note From Our President
People do not talk enough about depression and suicide. It is an issue that affects people of all backgrounds. It does not discriminate by gender, race, sexual orientation, education or income level. Anyone, from any background, can suffer from its debilitating effect.

Nearly 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression.
Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.
Lawyers rank 5th in incidence of suicide by occupation.
On average, 80 Americans die by suicide every day.

The Dave Nee Foundation, comprised primarily of dedicated volunteers, works hard to reduce the stigma of depression and prevent suicide through its support of established organizations and its own direct advocacy.

Please consider making a donation today (http://www.daveneefoundation.com/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=7) and support this valuable work.

Thank you,
Wynne Kelly
Board President

About the Dave Nee Foundation: The Dave Nee Foundation’s mission is to eliminate the stigma associated with depression and suicide by promoting and encouraging not only the diagnosis and treatment of depression among young adults, but also the education of young people, their families, and friends about the disease of depression.

We believe that a principal reason for the high suicide rate in the United States is a glaring lack of sufficiently candid discussion about, and early treatment of, depression. We hope to spread the message that depression and thoughts of harming oneself are common and that treatment for depressed and suicidal thoughts must become socially acceptable.