Isibor Aigbe SIGNAL

Mental Wellness of Lawyers in Nigeria – By Isibor Aigbe

Nigeria is evolving as a result of having more investment and new businesses and becoming more commercialized in terms of infrastructural development. Lawyers play a major role in most transactions in the society; hence more deliverables are expected from Lawyers.

A lawyer being responsible for another human being is a difficult task, and in a bid to carry out their legal duty, they tend to neglect taking care of their own mental wellness. Legal practitioners are cerebral thinkers and are seen by the society as unemotional in how they discharge their legal duties which requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication.

In their quest to provide the best service for their clients they must also strive to take good care of themselves and recognize certain triggers that will be detrimental to their mental health. There is a Maxim that says “you cannot give what you do not have” –nemo dat quod non habet. It is important to take care of oneself and look after one’s mental health, to be enabled to satisfactorily meet the needs of clients.

As legal practitioners, providing services for clients’ needs us to take care of ourselves and not sacrifice our mental health; we need to take a break when we must, as a healthy mind contributes to healthy justice architecture as well as positive mental productivity.

The International Bar Association (IBA) is deeply concerned about the wellbeing within the legal profession and formed a taskforce to drive the work forward and incorporate not only institutions and individuals but also regulatory and representative bodies as well as other key stakeholders within this dialogue.

It is generally accepted that the importance of mental health of the legal community needs greater recognition and action. A full report of the IBA Presidential Task Force was launched at the meeting with global experts on legal wellbeing issues on Tuesday, 26 October 2021, which sets out ten (10) principles for dealing with mental wellbeing crisis in the legal profession. The report confirmed that mental health has a disproportionate impact on women, young people, ethnic minority and people with disabilities.

The first step to beating the stigma is to stop treating mental illness as taboo. Whether it’s an article you read, a show you watched, or a personal experience you had, talking about it openly and without shame will help others realize they aren’t alone.

The Culture that prioritizes psychological well-being helps employees who are struggling to feel safe and encourages everyone to improve their mental health. It also prescribes the behaviours that are appropriate within the workplace. Corporate leaders should take this more seriously in order to improve the organizational culture and remove the stigma.

The International Bar Association (IBA) is deeply concerned about the wellbeing within the legal profession and formed a taskforce to drive the work forward and incorporate not only institutions and individuals but also regulatory and representative bodies as well as other key stakeholders within this dialogue.

Mental health is fundamental to individual organizational and national well-being. Specifically, the work environment should be psychologically safe and equal attention should be given to promoting both the physical and mental well-being of all individuals in the workplace.   Law has been described as a profession characterized by high pressure and competitive environment, and a legal practitioner’s work value is often defined by excessive working hours, statutory time limits/deadlines, all of which exposes the legal practitioner to higher incidences of anxiety, stress, and mental illness.

This article explains the culture of mental wellness in the workplace in Nigeria, with emphasis on the mental well-being of legal practitioners. It expatiates on the causes and the negative effects of poor mental wellness of legal practitioners and how organizations can implore multilateralism to address issues on mental wellness. It also highlights existing policies and initiatives that cater to the mental well-being of legal practitioners not only in Nigeria but globally.

Read full article here.

Isibor Aigbe, IBA, Mental Wellbeing Taskforce for Africa

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Copyright 2021 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to  www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.



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