Resilience as Resistance: Mental health and well-being in human rights

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Photo: Studio Incendo/FlickrCC BY 2.0 (Some rights reserved)

The mental health and well-being of advocates has often been neglected by human rights organizations, funders, and advocates themselves. Recently, however, activists and mental health professionals have begun giving the issue more attention, exploring what risks advocates face and how they might be mitigated. Human rights organizations increasingly want to bolster the resilience and creativity of their staff and constituents. Defenders increasingly see their own well-being as an imperative for sustainable movements.

This series examines a range of critical questions and issues including: research conducted on the mental health impacts of human rights work, obstacles to advancing mental health and well-being in this field, as well as innovative approaches and strategies to prevent and alleviate the harmful effects of human rights work.

Collaborating Guest Editors: Fred AbrahamsFarea Al-MuslimiSarah KnuckeyDouglas MawadriLucia Nader, and Meg Satterthwaite


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BY: Myrella Saadeh

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BY: Maik Müller

Integrating a psychosocial perspective requires the incorporation of psychosocial ...

“No One Warned Me”: the trade-off between self-care and effective activism

June 20, 2017
BY: Yara Sallam

Is there a trade off between protecting your mental health as an activist ...

Making our movements sustainable: practicing holistic security every day

June 15, 2017
BY: Deepa Ranganathan & María Díaz Ezquerro

What does holistic security and collective self-care in human rights work ...

Collective care in human rights funding: a political stand

May 18, 2017
BY: Meerim Ilyas & Tatiana Cordero Velásquez

To support the activists and groups that we fund, donors must engage in ...

Ready for anything: how preparation can improve trauma recovery

May 11, 2017
BY: Zelalem Kibret

When in the field, human rights workers must be better prepared for trauma ...

When advocacy work builds resilience, everyone benefits

May 11, 2017
BY: Kristi Pinderi

For many, activism can be healthy and healing.

Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin

May 10, 2017
BY: Holly Davis & Magda Adamowicz

By not paying enough attention to self-care, activists are compromising ...

Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate

April 27, 2017
BY: Alexandra Zetes

Without adequate preparation, new human rights advocates can be easily ...

Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates

April 9, 2017
BY: Douglas Mathew Mawadri

Human rights advocates in Africa face significant challenges in getting ...

Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates

April 7, 2017
BY: Meg Satterthwaite

It’s time to think seriously about the effects of trauma on human rights ...