Human Rights Resilience Project

The Human Rights Resilience Project is an interdisciplinary research initiative co-led by Margaret Satterthwaite, CHRGJ’s Faculty Director, in collaboration with Sarah Knuckey and Anjli Parrin of Columbia Law School and Adam Brown and Manaswi Sangraula of The New School. Since 2015, a research team of human rights lawyers and psychologists have been working to document, raise awareness, and develop culturally-sensitive training programs to promote well-being and resilience among human rights workers. The project is grounded in the belief that the well-being of human rights activists is essential for sustainable movements.

History

The project’s initial phase consisted of an online survey of human rights workers based in dozens of countries. An analysis of survey results, published in December 2015, found high rates of adverse mental health impacts among the 346 respondents. Of those studied, 19% appeared to have PTSD, 19% had significant symptoms associated with PTSD, 15% seemed to be experiencing depression, and 19% reported burnout—rates comparable to those found among first responders and combat veterans.

With a grant from Open Society Foundations, the research team is currently mapping the ways in which human rights organizations manage and deal with the chronic stress, vicarious trauma, and trauma associated with the work. The aim is to understand the well-being challenges and opportunities in the human rights field, and the resources and approaches that human rights groups and organizations have found to be useful in protecting the well-being and mental health of their staff and volunteers.

News
Announcements
August 30, 2021
Call for Applications: Defenders’ Wellbeing Collective
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Announcements
May 24, 2019
The Human Rights Resilience Project Publishes First Global Study of Organizational Responses to Mental Health Risks in the Human Rights Field
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Announcements
May 21, 2018
Human Rights Resilience Project Launches New Website
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Events
April 30, 2020
COVID-19 and Mental Health: Wellbeing and Resilience During the Pandemic
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November 1, 2019
Mental Health and Human Rights: Future Challenges and Opportunities
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February 14, 2018
Building Resilience for Social Justice: A Skills Workshop
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