One of the key objectives for Ukraine is to create a system of psychological assistance and support relevant to the challenges, stated Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at an expanded meeting of the Interagency Coordination Council on Mental Health Protection and Psychological Assistance to Victims of the Armed Aggression of russian federation. The meeting was held on February 8 with the participation of First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, representatives of central executive authorities and international organizations.
"Today's war with russia has an impact on each of us, no matter where we are. Even where it seems relatively safe. The enemy is doing everything to break us morally. russia is constantly launching IPsO (information-psychological operation - ed.) to distort the psyche and demoralize Ukrainians. We must effectively counteract this. The psychological recovery of Ukraine is as important as rebuilding infrastructure, housing, or energy," the Prime Minister emphasized.
For her part, the wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, noted that psychological assistance should be as accessible and widespread as medical care.
"This is an ambitious goal. And a huge challenge is to melt down the terrible experience and transform it into post-traumatic growth. There is no such program anywhere in the world. But no one in the world in this century has experienced what we are experiencing," the First Lady said.
According to the Head of Government, only 4% of Ukrainians seek psychological help. The system records only 10% of citizens with the most common mental disorders.
"Thanks to the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska, we have consolidated efforts of the authorities to act jointly, in a coordinated and fast manner. An operational roadmap was presented at the recent meeting. A single coordination center, the Project Office under the Cabinet of Ministers, has been established. It was decided that the component of mental health protection will be a cross-cutting component in the implementation of state policy," said Denys Shmyhal.
According to the Prime Minister, the audit of resources showed that only half of the communities provide 5 out of 17 basic social services. Only 1% of primary healthcare professionals have undergone additional training. The mental health curriculum in Ukraine covers less than half the topics of similar programs in developed countries. The Head of Government emphasized that these systemic problems are planned to be corrected by implementing breakthrough projects.
Denys Shmyhal expressed hope for effective interaction and cooperation in the development of new services with representatives of international organizations. Thus, together with USAID, a model of mental health recovery Check Point for those who have experienced traumatic events has already been presented.
According to the Head of Government, Ukrainian specialists with basic medical or psychological education are already successfully mastering the world's advanced methods of crisis, military, and extreme psychology: "The updated system we are building is based on a person with his or her problems and needs. The welfare of every Ukrainian and every family is the ultimate goal of our joint efforts."
The meeting resulted in the adoption of a vision for the transformation of the national mental health and psychosocial support system as a basis for planning mental health activities. The Ministry of Health, for its part, is to present recommendations to the Action Plan for 2023-2025 for the implementation of the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program by the end of the month, initiated by First Lady Olena Zelenska.
The relevant ministries have also been instructed to prepare concepts for priority projects for 2023-2024.