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“Prioritizing Mental Health and Psychosocial Services in Relief and Recovery Efforts in Ukraine”

April 4th, 2022    News

In an article published in The Lancet Psychiatry titled “Prioritizing mental health and psychosocial services in relief and recovery efforts in Ukraine” our Executive Director Dr. Peter Navario, along with Wei Shi and Brian J Hall, illustrated effective measures to alleviate the mental health situation of the victims during and after the current Ukraine exigency. This is because “mental health and psychosocial support are inadequately prioritized within complex humanitarian relief efforts, or in subsequent efforts to rebuild following conflict”. Thus, it is crucial to “ensure that mental health and psychosocial support are central to relief and recovery efforts in Ukraine.”

In the article, Shi, Navario, and Hall indicate that stakeholders may (1) provide remote psychological first aid, (2) support international NGOs and the Red Cross to implement guidance by the Inter­ Agency Standing Committee on mental health and psychosocial support during times of humanitarian crisis, and (3) provide culturally appropriate and trauma informed screening in the conduct of these services. Decentralizing mental health and psychosocial support resources into communities, as Shi, Navario, and Hall present, is important to optimize long-term recovery.

Leveraging the existing infrastructure in Ukraine can mobilize networks of trained mental health and psychosocial support providers who support ongoing capacity-building work. The current and future mental health needs of millions of Ukrainians should be addressed with scalable, affordable, and broadly effective interventions that can be integrated within the health system to close the gap between mental health research and service delivery in conflict-affected populations. For example, since 2015, HealthRight International has been building a nationwide service network to address the mental health and psychosocial support needs of survivors of conflict, and gender­ based violence and more than 125,000 people have been reached to date. More organizations are encouraged to make similar efforts to relieve the exigency. 

Stakeholders must work to close the gap between mental health research and service delivery in conflict-affected populations as millions of Ukrainians need access to effective mental health and psychological support now and for the foreseeable future to ensure resiliency and recovery from this tragic conflict.

You can read the full article here.