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Finding ways to live with trauma in Ukraine

“The treatment programme depends on the mental state in which the person comes to us, but involve an average of 10-15 consultations,” says Dr Savchenko.

At consultations, MSF psychologists use evidence-based practice divided into three phases – stabilisation, trauma processing, and reintegration into social life – and tailored to patients’ needs.

Stigma around mental healthcare

A common symptom of PTSD is reluctance to seek help. This is often exacerbated by the stigma that exists around mental healthcare.

“There is a lack of understanding of how psychotherapy works and this can discourage people from seeking help,” says Andrii Panasiuk, MSF psychologist and mental health supervisor. “This is where raising awareness plays a key role.”

To raise awareness of PTSD and inform people about its symptoms, MSF teams conduct sessions with general practitioners and with veterans’ associations. They also run psychoeducation sessions on the signs of PTSD during creative workshops and art activities with local organisations for displaced people such as I’Mariupol or the Kherson hub. During these activities, health promoters sit and talk with each participant individually, in order to build trust, identify people who could benefit from psychological support, and empower them to seek care.

“I often draw parallels between physical and mental injuries,” says Rachok. “If you don’t disinfect or treat a wound, but simply cover it up and try to ignore it, the wound just gets worse.”

Fonte original msf.org

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