Laura Davidson

Job role: 
Mental health, disability, and human rights Barrister and international Consultant
Member type: 
Educator / Academic
Policy Maker
Brief Biography: 

I am a Barrister in London and a Consultant in mental health law and international development.  I am a co-founder of the UK's first mental health resaarch charity which we set up in 2008 (Mental Health Research UK).  We fund PhDs into the caausses of mental illness in order to develop better treatments with fewer side-effects. 

You can see my professional profile here:

I have a Masters in International Law and a PhD in mental health law and human rights (both from the University of Cambridge, England).  My legal practice is in mental health, human rights, medical ethics and mental capacity law. I have written several chapters in two legal textbooks, and I publish and lecture regularly.  I am currently a visiting research fellow at the Law Faculty of the University of Cape Town, and I have just finished writing and editing a book on mental health law and international development. This will be published on 3rd July 2019:

In 2013 I spent seven months working as a Consultant for the Ministry of Health in Rwanda, and drafted the country’s first mental health law.  This required a situational analysis involving many meetings with key stakeholders, and close working with the Mental Health Division. I also advised the government on mental health policy.  I was also the Co-Investigator in a research project on trauma counselling services involving trauma survivors in in Gulu and Kitgum, northern Uganda. This involved interviews with internally displaced persons and other victims of trauma – largely children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and victims of gender-based violence ("Improvements to National Health Policy: Mental Health, Mental Health Bill, Legislation and Justice", Liebling, H., Davidson, L., Akello, F.G., and Ochola, G. (2014) African Journal of Traumatic Stress 3 (2), 55-64, available from

I was recently invited to participate in an online Q&A session by the Guardian on mental health and development, a summary of which you can see here:

I have also recently had an article published in the Guardian on the importance of mental health legislation in meeting SDG3: 

Regions of interest: 
Central America and the Caribbean
South America
Disorders of interest: 
Psychosis/bipolar disorder
Depression/anxiety/stress-related disorders
Dementia and other neurocognitive disorders
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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