New report: Mental health needs are growing in Ukraine

  • September 2, 2022
September 2, 2022
In Belgorod, Russian Red Cross staff and volunteers provide essential support, including psychosocial support, to people displaced due to the conflict in Ukraine. Photo: Russian Red Cross

It hit me hardest when I took care of many mothers with children. It was heartbreaking. If people are angry or sad, listening to them can sometimes be more helpful than providing food.

Maria, a long-time PSS volunteer with the Ukrainian Red Cross in Lviv.

A new report from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, Six Months of Armed Conflict in Ukraine, outlines how, in the first six months of the conflict, the Movement has reached 368,000 people with Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, but also that the mental health needs are growing. In early June, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health estimated that 15 million people might require psychosocial support due to the armed conflict, with three to four million potentially requiring medical treatment.

The IFRC is working with National Societies to increase their ability to help those impacted. The European Union-funded project will target 300,000 people in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, in coordination with Danish Red Cross and with technical assistance from the IFRC Psychosocial Centre.

The technical services provided by Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers in Ukraine and neighbouring countries span from sitting down with someone and listening to their story, creating awareness, and providing someone with information on the common signs, symptoms and reactions to stress – to referring those who may need it to specialized services. Staff and volunteers also organize social activities: Cooking night at a shelter, running child-friendly spaces and other child-friendly activities, as well as activities for caregivers and sports and recreational activities, which can help inclusion and integration.