First Ever Global Study on Mental Health and Well-Being of Advocates Released

Channel grantee partners FRIDA and AWID, as well as The Defensoras, are three of five case studies featured in From a “Culture of Unwellness” to Sustainable Advocacy: Organizational Responses to Mental Health Risks in the Human Rights Field. The first of its kind global study, based on interviews with advocates at 70 organizations from 35 countries and dozens of experts, mapped how human rights organizations are responding to the mental health and well-being needs of advocates.

The study was released in May 2019 by authors from NYU School of Law, Columbia Law School, The New School for Social Research in partnership with The Human Rights Resilience Project. The Project seeks to promote resilience and improve mental health and well-being among human rights advocates. The members of the project conduct research into mental health, promote awareness of well-being issues in the human rights, offer trainings and mentoring, and work to support the development of a global community of practice engaged in collective learning about resilience. Alongside the report, the project released Recommendation to Funders to Improve Mental Health & Well-being in the Human Right’s Field and a short summary of the study findings.

The study found that, generally, organizations have responded poorly and much more needs to be done at all levels—individual, organizational, and field-wide. The study addressed: (1) sources of stress and the harms advocates see as resulting from poor mental health and stress exposure; (2) the challenges to improving well-being; and (3) positive organizational practices for supporting well-being and building more resilient advocates and organizations. The study concludes with recommended next steps, including further research, knowledge-sharing, and tailored education and trainings.