Student loan debt isn’t just impacting the life decisions that new attorneys make, it’s also taking a toll on their mental health.

Many of the more than 1,000 lawyers in their first decade of practice who participated in a recent survey about educational debt conducted by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division reported that their loans weigh heavy on their minds. The survey did not set out to quantify the impact of student loans on lawyer mental health. Rather, it was intended to gauge what role that debt plays in whether young lawyers decided to get married or buy a house, for instance. Yet mental health emerged as a major theme in the open-ended section of the survey, where many young lawyers—unprompted—said the amount of money they owe is a sources of stress, anxiety, depression, and anger.

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