Tuesday, April 11, 2017
While much discussion centers on the need for trauma based interviewing and advocacy, insufficient discussion addresses the trauma experienced by advocates for those whose human rights are violated.
A new blog series brings awareness to the mental health risks that human rights advocates face. "Resilience as resistance: Mental Health and well-being in human rights work" introduces the topic:
"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."
An early post was written by Meg Satterthwaite, of NYU's Human Rights Institute. Evidence of trauma: The impact of human rights work on advocates is an excellent discussion of the need for addressing front line trauma based upon evidence based research. In Sattherthwaite's report are findings from a study showing a high rate of PTSD among those who engage the work. These posts are recommended for all engaged in human rights advocacy. Often, we are deep into trauma before we recognize its impact on ourselves and those with whom we work. Recognizing early warning signs may be the best education we can provide to our students and others beginning to engage with human rights advocacy.
Here is a wonderful list of resources for staying healthy, brought to you by Windcall Institute.