Mitchell Hamline Launches Wellness Center – News and Events

Shammah Bermudez, Director of Disability and Student Services, cuts the ribbon for the new Mitchell Hamline Wellness Center on Monday, May 2, 2022. Natalie Netzel ’15 (left) and Lynn LeMoine ’11 (right) hold tape.

In an ongoing effort to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff, Mitchell Hamline executives cut the ribbon on a new wellness center on Monday.

“Law school for students, faculty, and staff is necessarily and sometimes unnecessarily stressful,” Professor Natalie Netzel ’15 said. “It’s an investment for our employees to be a great place to be.”

The renovated bedroom suite includes massage chairs; yoga mats; stress balls, acupuncture rings and even coloring books; as well as quiet rooms that can be used for meetings with advisors. It is open whenever the building is open and is located on the first floor at the east end of campus. The debut also correlated with the start of the national #WellbeingWeekInLaw.

The new wellness center offers places to relax, as well as inspirational messages on the walls.

“It’s also a commitment to mutual care,” Netzel added. “It’s not enough to tell students to find time to go for a walk or a run. We have to find places to take care of each other.

The center is the result of calls from the Wellbeing Committee, Counseling Services and Disability and Student Services to pay more attention to mental health and wellbeing.

Netzel and Dean of Students Lynn LeMoine ’11 have been at the forefront of a national movement to focus on the welfare needs of law students. “Law school has long been seen as this ‘sink or swim’ place that’s deliberately hard because being a lawyer is hard,” LeMoine said. “But changing that paradigm is important because we know that students and lawyers can thrive with the right support systems.”

The two have worked to bring attention to the need for mutual care in legal education by presenting at the Institute for Well-Being in Law’s inaugural conference in January 2022. Netzel, LeMoine and d ‘other Mitchell Hamline faculty and staff (Leanne Fuith, Kelli Simpson, Rick Petry and Miriam Itzkowitz) are also scheduled to present to the AALS section on balance and well-being in the summer series of the wellness promotion legal education in law school.

The new wellness center also includes two massage chairs, as well as yoga mats.

Netzel, who will take over as co-director of clinics at Mitchell Hamline this summer, has twice taught a course on “resilient practice” for clinical students with Miriam Itzkowitz, a licensed social worker who is a director of care taking into account trauma for the Institute. Transform child protection.

“When our students work with clients in our clinics, it’s often with clients who are experiencing trauma,” Itzkowitz said. “It is important that we train future lawyers to be compassionate and effective with people who have experienced trauma without seeing that trauma as their own. »

Sophomore Hannah Burton took Netzel and Itzkowitz’s class this spring and attended Monday’s event at the Wellness Center. She said that even with her own commitment to various wellness practices before law school, she struggled to prioritize her mental health and wellbeing at Mitchell Hamline. “Law school is where we as students develop the models that we will apply to our legal practice, for better or for worse. Having the opportunity to take classes like Resilient Practice, or designating mutual care spaces like the Wellness Center, and seeing teachers who embrace healthy boundaries and take care of themselves can all help make evolve the culture in law schools and eventually lead to change across the world. legal profession.”

“As a student, it’s hard to heed advice to take breaks and such,” added Grace Hoffman, also a sophomore who took the Resilient Practice course. “A wellness space won’t cure all the ‘sick’ parts of law school, but Mitchell Hamline’s creation of such a space could make it easier for students to follow this guidance.”

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