Activists and organisations have developed manuals, tools, and training materials to promote well-being. This section includes tools and training modules, including those created by Black Lives Matter advocates, women’s rights activists, the United Nations, and others.
Healing Justice Toolkit, Black Lives Matter (2017)
Drawing on the “healing justice” framework developed by radical queer feminist Cara Page and the Kindred Southern Healing Collective, this toolkit, created by the Black Lives Matter Healing Justice Working Group, is a resource for those engaged in direct action to center healing justice practices.
Healing Justice Podcast, Kate Werning (2017)
This podcast, curated and hosted by social justice activist Kate Werning at the “intersection of collective healing and social change,” contains weekly interviews with leaders in the social justice movement, along with accompanying practices for individual and collective healing.
Tonic, Oxalis Collective (2017)
This is a healing advice podcast, which also answers questions by listeners, that is hosted by three healers of color: Richael Faithful, Karen L. Culpeppr and Miriam Zoila Perez (organizers of the Oxalis Collective).
Reiter and Koenig on Challenges and Strategies for Researching Trauma, Keramet Reiter and Alexa Koenig, Palgrave Macmillan (2017)
This article by two human rights practitioners discusses the mental health challenges posed by human rights research, and details useful techniques to protect human rights advocates whose work exposes them to vast quantities of traumatic material which can strengthen resilience and reduce the risk of vicarious trauma.
Practicing Individual and Collective Self-Care at FRIDA, FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund (2016)
FRIDA has great resources for self and collective care both for its team and for its grantees. It considers self and collective care to be an essential part of the feminist political strategy to ensure the sustainability of the feminist movement. This list contains working principles for young feminists who work in high pressure environments, to ensure that they maintain a healthy work-life balance, and to foster resilience, but is also useful for all non-profit organizations.
FRIDA Working Styles and Principles, FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund (2016)
This list of principles for working in a “virtual office” draws on FRIDA’s experiences. It is helpful for any organization looking to include feminist principles in its remote work.
4 Self-Care Resources for When the World is Terrible, Miriam Zoila Pérez, ColorLines, Jul. 7, 2016
This article refers to four critical resources for “when the trauma won’t stop,” which provide practical advice for helping you disengage, ensuring self-care, and ways to protect yourself in spaces with “unaware people” .
Social Entrepreneurial Pathways for a Culture of Wellbeing, Ashoka and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (May 2016)
This Social Innovation Mapping Exercise examines the ‘barriers” that social enterprises face when trying to incorporate wellness into how their organisations are run, and the “design principles” that enterprises have adopted to counter those barriers.
The Holistic Security Manual, Tactical Technology Collective
This manual intends to, as described by the authors, “guide a process of establishing or improving security strategies for individuals, collectives or organisations”. Tactical Tech was the first organization to conceive of holistic security as “well-being in action,” and this guide includes a focus on health and well-being, in understanding security threats and adopting mechanisms to cope with them.
21-Day Evergreen Challenge, Move to End Violence
This online 21-day challenge by Move to End Violence can be taken by anyone looking to incorporate self-care practices into their everyday routine. Its daily prompts are intended to increase awareness around one’s self-care habits, and to increase sustainability and mindfulness of those practices. This 21-day challenge starts the first Tuesday of every month.
Building an organization with a Soul, Air For Africa (2015)
This organizational development guide by two prominent African feminists for the African Women’s Development Fund has advice on how build sustainable social justice organizations and promote well-being by fostering the values and principles espoused by the organization internally, through the development of the organization’s core motive or “soul song”.
Echoes of the Sounds of the Conch, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (2015)
This document provides insights to help defenders and their organizations reflect internally, as well as analyze their practices and their models for defending rights and their activism. It contains tools, exercises and practices that creates space for and spurs reflections on personal and collective well-being and power relationships within social justice and activism work.
Five Myths that Perpetuate Burnout Across Nonprofits (2016) by Anne Sofie Morrissette. This short article discusses the unhealthy work cultures and myths that inhibit resilience and promote burn-out in social justice and non-profit work.
“Trauma and Self Care,” Manual on human rights monitoring, Chapter 12, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations (2011)
This manual describes how a trauma-based approach can be adopted when conducting human rights research. It also contains a checklist for self-care during, before and after conducting interviews with trauma survivors and includes a chapter on self-care for HR officers, which defines vicarious trauma, burnout, and stress management and includes tips to manage them.
Integrated Security: The Manual, Jane Barry (2011)
Dealing with all aspects of an activist’s work and life, from health and personal networks to secure working spaces, this manual shows how various stakeholders in human rights practice can organise Integrated Security Workshops.
New Protection Manual for Human Rights Defenders, Enrique Eguren and Marie Caraj, Protection International, 2008
This manual is a tool to help human rights defenders develop their own personal security plans and protection mechanisms. It draws on Protection International’s 25 years of experience, and includes a step-by-step plan to help human rights defenders assess threats, and protect against vulnerabilities.
From A Culture of Unwellness to Sustainable Advocacy: Organisational Responses to Mental Health Risks in the Human Rights Field, (2019) by Margaret Satterthwaite, Ria Singh Sawhney and Rohini Hagrodia. This piece of research is based on interviews with activists at 70 organizations from 35 countries and dozens of experts. They mapped how human rights organisations are responding to the mental health and well-being needs of activists. It explores how activists are likely to experience elevated levels of post- traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), depression, and burnout, not just at an individual level, but are impacted by organisational, movement-level, and field-wide conditions, structures, and responses.
Self-care and self-defense manual for feminist activists, Marina Bernal, Artemisa, Elige, CREA. (2008).
This manual is a resource to help feminist activists to know themselves better, optimize their strength, reflect upon their context and work on caring for themselves. It presents a series of exercises to build personal self-care strategies, a crucial step for self-defense against different forms of violence. It was originally developed in Spanish by Marina Bernal, Artemisa and Elige.
Emergency Response Tool Kit, Capacitar (2005)
This tool kit provides a range of simple wellness practices which are useful in situations of stress and emergency.
Protection Manual for Human Rights Defenders, Frontline Defenders (2005)
The Frontline Defenders website has a whole section on health and stress management. This workbook on managing threats to security has some practical tips on how to deal with challenges to well-being including stress.
Holistic Security Training, Huridocs (2017)
This webinar on holistic security contains presentations by various trainers explaining how to incorporate measures relating to digital, physical security and well-being within this work.
Creating Healing Spaces in Activist Groups, Oxalis Collective (2017)
This webinar introduces individual and group-focused healing tools to center well-being in the midst of challenging times and social justice work. [Note: behind a sliding scale paywall]
Self-Care and Collective Well-being, Association for Women’s Rights In Development (2016)
This webinar is hosted by the Black Feminisms Forum and the Advisory Group on Well-being with over 80 women’s rights and feminist activists, sharing their experiences on the transformative potential of self-care and collective care.
Class Struggle and Mental Health: Live to fight another day (2014) This zine is created by autonomous contributors for Libcom.org (UK) & the Edmonton Small Press Association (ESPA) (Canada) which offers general advice on maintaining overall mental health.
Inclusion of resources does not constitute an endorsement.