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War-torn minds: navigating mental health issues amid war in Ukraine

Throughout Ukraine, MSF psychologists deliver psychological support tailored to patients’ needs. In 2022 and 2023 alone, we provided 26,324 individual mental health consultations. Part of them were held in mobile clinics that provide medical and psychological care to people in the areas retaken by the Ukrainian army and small villages close to the hostilities in the Kherson, Donetsk, Mykolaiv and Kharkiv regions. 

Sometimes people do not see their mental health as a priority when their basic needs for clean water, food, healthcare, and utilities are met. There are often no medical facilities in these areas because they have been destroyed, and there are no medical staff. The elderly people in these regions are particularly affected, as often they were unable to leave the areas due to mobility challenges. The constant worry can lead to the aggravation of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and insomnia. 

In the mobile clinics, MSF psychologists often explain to patients the importance of mental health and the impact it has on the quality of their lives. They advise patients on how to improve sleep quality, manage anxiety and tension, and conduct psycho-educational training for communities on how to deal with stress. Basic techniques and support for mental health can help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease and mental disorders. 

In many cases, the basic exercises recommended by specialists during group psychoeducation sessions and individual consultations help to stabilise the emotional state of patients. However, there are more complex cases that require long-term work. For instance, MSF psychologists provided psychological support to the survivors of a missile attack on a café in the village of Hroza, Kharkiv Oblast, in eastern Ukraine in early October 2023. The shelling caused the loss of dear ones to each of the 15 families living in this village of 330 residents, according to the authorities and the UN.https://ukraine.un.org/en/251228-un-report-links-russia-deadly-attack-ukrainian-village

Fonte original msf.org

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