Psychosocial support in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine has significantly impacted the population's mental health and psychosocial well-being. Besides the need for safety, food, and shelter, there is also a need for emotional and social support. Not only for the Ukrainian people but also for the humanitarian workers on the frontline. ARQ offers this psychosocial support.
Not only visible wounds but also the invisible wounds of war, violence, and crisis, are part of emergency assistance. The psychological effects of war often continue for generations. ARQ International has been helping those affected by conflict and disasters by training mental health workers in psychotrauma, conducting research, and exchanging knowledge.
Not everyone suffers immediate trauma
Ukrainians experience a lot of stress and tension because of displacement, exposure to violence, separation from family members and the deteriorating humanitarian situation. Research shows that these symptoms decrease over time for most people, especially if there is sufficient social support and practical assistance. For people who experience long-term or recurrent setbacks, this can lead to mental symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and traumatic stress.
Vulnerable target groups
Before the current conflict, Ukraine had experienced eight years of persistent violence since the Donbas war in 2014 and the Russian annexation of Crimea. Ukrainians in the eastern region, veterans, and displaced persons are a particularly vulnerable group. So are children and adolescents who are growing up with constant violence. These minority groups are especially vulnerable to psychological issues.
Psychosocial support saves lives
Prevention is better than cure. Serious problems, such as depression, sleep disorders and alcohol and drug abuse, are often prevented by offering psychosocial support directly. It increases the resilience of the individual and the community to deal with adversity, which is also necessary for the reconstruction of the country. The Dutch Foundation of Cooperating Aid Organisation - GIRO555 also understands this need and has asked ARQ to provide support.
What is ARQ doing in Ukraine and neighbouring countries?
1. Increasing knowledge on psychotrauma
Ukrainian psychologists and psychotherapists need more knowledge on dealing with acute stress and trauma. Because of the increased tensions from the previous conflict, the corona crisis, and the vast numbers of people in need, the current knowledge is insufficient. In addition, there is a need for knowledge among non-specialists about psychological first aid, child and family-centred approaches to trauma, and how to respond to the risk of radicalisation among adolescents.
- Online training series for Ukrainian psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists in basic and advanced psychotrauma treatment.
- Training for Ukrainian social workers in psychological first aid.
- Training for Ukrainian non-specialists in child and family-oriented approach to psychotrauma.
2. Providing psychological care to professionals
Mental health workers in Ukraine and neighbouring countries also experience much stress due to the war and the humanitarian aid they provide to other people. They need psychological support for their well-being to continue to assist in the long term. There is also a need for professional support for mental health workers in complex cases of psychotrauma.
- Online training sessions on stress management and self-care for mental health professionals.
- Customised training sessions on stress management and self-care for Ukrainian and international NGOs.
- Intervision sessions for Ukrainian mental health professionals.
Watch this video by our partner Healthy Society about the impact of the war on their work.
3. Sharing knowledge
Better access to information and resources is needed to strengthen mental health care in Ukraine. Existing sources must be translated, contextualised, printed, and distributed within the network to avoid duplication of the work.
- Desk review of information on mental health and psychosocial support in Ukraine.
- Printing and distribution of information about psychotrauma.
- Promoting network between Ukrainian and international specialists and counsellors.