A webinar on “Shedding Stigma on Mental Health Issues for Legal Professionals” was organized by School of Law and Justice, Adamas University, and International Justice Mission, Kolkata, on 25th July.
Dignitaries like Hon’ble Justice Soumen Sen, Judge, High Court of Calcutta, Member, Juvenile Justice Committee; Prof. (Dr.) Amita Dhanda, Law Professor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad; Dr. Jai R. Ram, psychiatrist and joint director, Mental Health Foundation; Prof. (Dr.) Jyotsna Yagnik, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean, School of Law and Justice, Adamas University; and Ms. Shalini Newbigging, Specialist – Rehabilitation and Social Services, International Justice Mission, Mumbai, shared different nuances on the subject.
Judicial officers, lawyers, paralegals, students as well as professionals from different fields attended this webinar.
Hon’ble Justice Soumen Sen shared the keynote address and stressed that it’s not easy to face change without prior notice. “Uncertainties are part of life, irrespective of the Covid. However, one must remember that uncertainties are temporary and do not last long. In this time of uncertainty, kindness and compassion must go viral,” said Hon’ble Justice Sen.
Prof. (Dr.) Amita Dhanda, Law Professor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, conducted a session on Identifying mental health issues for legal professionals. She emphasized that deepening our own wells of sympathy and compassion is the need of this hour. “When you assist someone in distress, you assist yourself. Let empathy become an integral part of our life,” said Prof. (Dr.) Dhanda.
Dr. Jai Ram, Psychiatrist and Joint Director, Mental Health Foundation, shared on Overcoming Mental Health Issues. He stressed on the reality of the legal profession requires deep involvement in the case. “We hear violence, rape and many such events on daily basis. And when we hear it for years together, we see the worst aspect of human behaviour. It is alright to feel miserable for what is happening. We do not need to feel perfect all the time,” said Dr. Ram.
“Through this webinar, Adamas University and International Justice Mission addresses the issue of mental health in the legal profession and to facilitate conversations to overcome it,” said Mr. Saptarshi Biswas, Director, Legal Solutions, International Justice Mission, Kolkata.
Prof. (Dr.) Jyotsna Yagnik, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean, School of Law and Justice, Adamas University, moderated the technical session. She facilitated thought-provoking questions that were raised by participants to the experts.
Advocate Kaushik Gupta, High Court of Calcutta and Mrs. Payal Ghosh, Assistant Public Prosecutor, Sealdah Court, shared from their experiences. They emphasized that in this inter-connected globalized world, we often lack empathy, overlooking various moods and emotions. As a legal professional one must find ways to overcome stress and anxiety.