From a 'Culture of Unwellness' to Sustainable Advocacy: Organizational Responses to Mental Health Risks in the Human Rights Field

REVIEW OF LAW AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, Vol 28, 2019

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-12

113 Pages Posted: 28 May 2019

See all articles by Margaret L. Satterthwaite

Margaret L. Satterthwaite

New York University School of Law

Sarah Knuckey

Columbia University - Law School

Ria Singh Sawhney

Independent

Katie Wightman

Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law

Rohini Bagrodia

New School for Social Research

Adam Brown

New School for Social Research

Date Written: May 24, 2019

Abstract

Human rights advocates are exposed to significant stressors and harms of myriad forms, and suffer elevated levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and burnout. Yet research into mental health and human rights is nascent. This global study, the first of its kind, and 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 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.

Suggested Citation

Satterthwaite, Margaret L. and Knuckey, Sarah and Singh Sawhney, Ria and Wightman, Katie and Bagrodia, Rohini and Brown, Adam, From a 'Culture of Unwellness' to Sustainable Advocacy: Organizational Responses to Mental Health Risks in the Human Rights Field (May 24, 2019). REVIEW OF LAW AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, Vol 28, 2019; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 19-12 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3393638 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3393638

Margaret L. Satterthwaite (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Sarah Knuckey

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10009

Ria Singh Sawhney

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Katie Wightman

Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
United States
+1 (212) 992-8903 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://chrgj.org/focus-areas/global-justice-clinic/

Rohini Bagrodia

New School for Social Research

6 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Adam Brown

New School for Social Research

6 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

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