Queen's University

Law student club opens dialogue on mental health

 
2012-10-31
[Maria Nunez with Jane Emrich]Maria Nunez poses with Jane Emrich, Assistant Dean of Students, Faculty of Law, at the WLAO Awards ceremony in Toronto.

Maria Nunez’s dedication to advancing the dialogue about disability and mental health amongst her fellow law students has earned her a provincial advocacy award.

“The Disability and Mental Health (DAMH) Law Club helps spread the important message that having a disability or mental health issue need not be a barrier to achieving success in law,” says Ms Nunez, who accepted the Aird & Berlis LLP/Women’s Law Association of Ontario Advocacy Award. The honour recognizes a female law student who has dedicated her time and talents to a project that advances equality rights.

Ms Nunez, who studied psychology as an undergraduate student, decided to form the club last year as a way to combine two of her interests. She is impressed by the invaluable support the club has received from law students and the Faculty of Law.

“Mental health issues and disability truly are more common than many people are led to believe and the associated stigma should be reduced,” she says. “Many people have fantastic ideas and want to be involved in making a difference.”

The club is going strong this year with several educational activities planned, including a panel discussion with Career Services and Health Law Club where students can learn about different areas of disability and mental health law. The club plans to invite lawyers who self-identify as having a disability to speak about their experiences.

Ms Nunez takes the issue of mental health seriously, but she also wants to encourage students to relax and have fun in a supportive environment. The club members are planning several recreational and stress-busting events, and stay connected with students by sending out a monthly health and wellness email. She hopes to contact law students at other schools in Canada and encourage them to establish similar clubs.

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