The Instituto de Salud Mental de la Abogacía – Mental Health Institute of Legal Profession (ISMA-MHILP) is an organization devoted to the lawyers’ and law students’ wellbeing.
The aims of the ISMA-MHILP are built around three phases:
Phase 1: Radiography of legal professions and law students
1st. To ascertain lawyers’ and law students’ state of mental health through surveys and interviews that will be drafted by the Scientific Committee. The official materials of the ISMA-MHILP will have the following names:
- Legal Professions Wellbeing Survey.
- Law Students’ Wellbeing Survey.
Both surveys will be drafted by professionals of psychology and psychiatry. Taking as a reference the official tests (example: Goldberg Test GHQ-28), the Scientific Committee will include the specialties of each collective above-mentioned in other complementary materials.
2nd. To identify which are the psychosocial risk factors associated with legal professions and law students.
Phase 2: To foster lawyers’ and law students’ wellbeing
3rd. To recommend the adoption of certain organizational policies within law firms, judicial administration, and law schools to improve the wellbeing of these collectives.
The Wellbeing Committee, which is composed of different legal stakeholders, will be the competent body to prepare the Annual Wellbeing Plan.
4th. To fight against stigma and discriminatory practices suffered by legal professionals and law students because of mental health problems through awareness campaigns and specific programs.
5th. To encourage help-seeking behaviors when some lawyer and law student need it.
6th. To foster the feminine leadership within the legal professions and to break the “glass ceiling” through the establishment of strategic alliances with associations of female lawyers.
7th. To propose the inclusion of mental health contents in university programs (Law Degree and LL.M. for the Access to the Bar Association) to Law Schools and legal training centers, as well as in the courses organized by bar associations and law students associations.
8th. To establish strategic alliances and collaboration agreements with law schools, legal training centers, law firms, bar associations, companies, public administrations, law students associations, and mental health organizations, both national and international.
9th. To inform about the studies, investigations, and works carried out in other countries concerning the mental health of the legal profession and law students. Furthermore, following the Anglo-Saxon model, an Observatory of Therapeutic Jurisprudence will be created.
Phase 3: Incorporation of a verification process
10th. To verify the fulfillment of the organizational policies recommended by the Wellbeing Committee by those organizations voluntarily subjected to ISMA-MHILP’s control. The fulfillment of such policies will be duly acknowledged by the ISMA-MHILP, using any certification.
To fulfill all these aims, it is essential not only to have the support and hear the voices of the legal professionals and people to whom the ISMA-MHILP’s investigations and project are addressed, but also to have the sponsor and the supervision of mental health experts.