Oksana Zholnovych, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, got acquainted with the Israeli experience of resilience centres and presented a programme for the implementation of such centres in Ukraine – places where people can receive all the social support they need.
The working visit to Israel took place with the participation of First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska. During the visit, the Ukrainian delegation met with First Lady of Israel Michal Herzog and representatives of the Israeli NATAL Trauma and Resilience Centre, the Israel Trauma Coalition, and IsraAID (an international non-governmental humanitarian organisation).
“What we are planning is to establish large spaces of resilience in every community in Ukraine. Anyone who turns to these centres for help and support will be able to get it. We see these centres as a place of strength for the whole community, which would help organise and coordinate the work of various social institutions," said Oksana Zholnovych.
According to the Minister, Israel’s experience has shown the importance of group therapy, work with families and children, and psychological support in the early stages, which helps to prevent further deterioration of health conditions – all of which Ukraine will implement at the level of its resilience centres.
“Israel’s experience in organising volunteer groups that strengthen communities and ensure their integrity is also very valuable,” added the Minister of Social Policy.
She noted that by the end of 2023, 20 resilience centres were planned to be established across Ukraine. The design of such a centre has already begun in Irpin, one of the towns hardest hit by russia’s military aggression in Kyiv region. In the long term, the plan is to have up to 1,500 such centres across Ukraine, in each of our communities.
“To achieve this, we need to train more than 7,000 social workers, psychologists, and case managers. That is why we will be grateful to Israel for its assistance in training our staff and building a systemic education,” concluded Oksana Zholnovych.
According to Olena Zelenska, within the framework of the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Programme, 2,000 Ukrainian specialists have already been trained at the NATAL Trauma and Resilience Centre in Israel: they have learned how to deal with traumatic events, emergency situations, PTSD, sexual violence, and amputee patients.
“Ukrainian resilience comes at a high price. Not only in human lives at the front and in the rear, but also in the mental health of the entire nation. Saving the psyche in time is like saving a life. And this is a very appropriate word now – “resilience”. This is what we want for Ukrainians in every sense,” First Lady Olena Zelenska emphasised.