Imagine leaving your home, your social network, your job and most of your physical possessions behind. Or consider working extremely long hours every day for months at a time, uncertain when the frantic pace will stop. Now, picture the gravity and significance of sharing your story for the first time after months of either serving or being individuals affected by conflict. This is the story for many in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine and why Medical Teams International is promoting mental health support in Ukraine and Moldova.

Addressing mental health needs in Ukraine and Moldova

During our initial assessment of the conflict in Ukraine, Medical Teams interviewed many Ukrainians who expressed increased stress and anxiety amongst themselves, colleagues, community members and society as a collective whole. Individuals spoke of losing all possessions and arriving with only the clothes on their backs. Others shared through tears having to leave elderly family members behind. Civic leaders stated that this is the first time since February that they have stopped to speak of their experience. To address the need for mental health support, Medical Teams hired various mental health workers and managers to run programs for children and adults seeking support. We value the understanding of expertise of local staff, and we work to build interventions that are adapted to the local cultural context in line with global mental health and psychosocial support principles.

person presenting to a small group of people
Psychologist Tetiana provides psychological first Aid training to social workers in western Ukraine.

The core of our activities in mental health and psychosocial support programming focuses on providing dignified care that individuals need in Ukraine and Moldova. One internationally recognized program we provide is psychological first aid, oftentimes utilized in the immediate aftermath of a crisis. The techniques ensure that patients are listened to with respect and that mental health professionals observe patient needs and link them to appropriate resources. We currently provide trainings to volunteers, front-line workers and health staff in both Ukraine and Moldova.

Prioritizing mental health in Ukraine and Moldova

Medical Teams stands with all people in recognizing the importance of promoting mental health initiatives. In appreciation of our value that we are Not Alone, a substantial component of our programming provides connections to others as a means of addressing mental health. In Ukraine and Moldova, we work through support groups in coordination with Tutapona to provide training on psychological first aid, support a psychiatric unit, and provide individual case management sessions. Through providing trainings to equip our mental health workers, we address a variety of different mental health needs and strengthen the natural resiliency of child and adult participants.

woman presents to group seated around a table
Dr. Lilliana Damaschin provides psychological first aid training to local health staff in Moldova.

We recognize the crucial importance of mental health and psychosocial support integration into our health response and work relentlessly to make it a priority for everyone. Through prioritizing the mental health of Ukrainians, we hope to see communities continue to come together to support each other in their moment of need. We hope to see people’s well-being improve through finding the support they need. We also hope to see people better equipped with tools to deal with stress and anxiety. Ultimately, we do not know what the future holds, but we do want the people of Ukraine to know that they are not alone as we journey forward together.

Consider supporting mental health for Ukrainians by making a donation today.