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Past trauma and uncertainties of the future affect mental health of Ukrainians

The IFRC Psychosocial Centre is one of the partners of a project under EU4Health providing mental health and psychosocial support to Ukrainians affected by more than two years of armed conflict. The project funded by the EU is implemented in collaboration with IFRC, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, and National Red Cross Societies in Ukraine and 24 European countries.

The baggage of traumatic experiences combined with displacement stressors and uncertainties of the future constitute serious mental health challenges for many Ukrainians affected by the armed conflict.

Ganna Goloktionova further emphasises the combined toll of ongoing armed conflict, insecurity through displacement, the disruption of family and community structures, the temporary nature of protection, and financial stresses all negatively contribute to displaced Ukrainians’ mental health.

During an event in Brussels on 9 April the ‘Provision of quality and timely psychological first aid to people affected by the Ukraine Crisis in impacted countries’ was discussed by EU4Health stakeholders, including officials from the European Commission, member states, UN agencies, academia, civil society, IFRC and implementing partners.   

Among the topics were challenges identified in a recent survey conducted by the IFRC finding:

  • 83% of people affected by the conflict said they or family members had faced stressful or traumatic events. Two-thirds said displacement had had a negative impact on them. Of those surveyed, 79% were outside Ukraine, 21% inside.
  • 30% of displaced Ukrainians had sought some form of psychological support since the escalation of the conflict in 2022, which reveals a demand for mental health services. 

See press release from IFRC

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