British Nigeria Law Forum Launches Junior Lawyers’ DivisionJanuary 7, 2019
For Mental Health Awareness Week on 14 May 2019, the British Nigeria Law Forum held an event about ‘Supporting mental health from a legal perspective’ the event was sponsored by Doughty Street Chambers. We are really grateful to all the speakers for the knowledge and information shared with us:
Aswini Weereratne QC, a Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers spoke about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with a focus on mental health, human rights and removing obstacles which prevent access to services. She also discussed a Lasting Power of Attorney, one of the points raised was the need to think in advance about nominating others to make decisions where there is likely to be a deterioration in a person’s mental health.
Elizabeth Rimmer, the CEO of LawCare spoke about supporting mental health and wellbeing for those in the legal profession. LawCare offers a free and confidential helpline, the most common types of referrals received are about stress, depression and anxiety. Other referrals frequently dealt with by LawCare involve disciplinary matters, bullying in the workplace and concerns about career development. One of her key messages was that in order to help your clients and do your work effectively you must look after your own mental health and always be mindful to look out for the wellbeing of other colleagues. She said that LawCare has been very busy and is beginning to see an improvement in attitudes about mental health but more work is needed.
Dr Shade Olajubu, a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist provided key facts and information about anxiety, stress and depression. She explained the symptoms of each and how the body responds. Dr Olajubu informed us that one in four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their life. She provided detailed information on more extreme forms of depression including suicide and set out the risk factors. She discussed techniques on how to deal with stress and distributed a Life Stress questionnaire, to help one analyse and monitor stress levels based on a number of life experiences.
Edna do Rosário Martins, a Chartered Business Psychologist provided key information on the psychology of dealing with workplace stresses. She discussed coping mechanisms and provided psychological examples on how to overcome stress and anxiety. She shared her experience working on business transformations and the types of stress that could be brought about when introducing significant change initiatives. She provided information on the Hogan Development Survey and also demonstrated the Sleep well stimulus control therapy.
Aji Ayorinde, Co-Head BNLF Junior Lawyers Division talked about his experience in the legal profession, the pressures experienced by young law professionals and men and mental health. He said that the brain should be treated as our most important asset and should be rested when needed. He provided examples of how he manages stressful situations and spoke about the need not only to ‘set free time’ for yourself but also ‘me time’. He encouraged young law professionals and law students not to chase perfection but to develop a focused approach to their career. He also stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and inspirational role models.
For further information on LawCare see www.lawcare.org.uk and the Telephone Helpline: 0800 279 6888
For further information about the British Nigeria Law Forum (BNLF) and to join our membership see www.bnlf.org.uk and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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