The population in Ukraine is increasingly suffering from the consequences of the tense situation on the border with Russia: “The demand for psychological help and for first aid courses exceeds our capacities. We have been living with the conflict in our country since 2014, but in the past two months, the situation has worsened significantly”, reports Pavlo Titko, Head of Malteser Ukraine, which together with Malteser International, the Order of Malta international relief agency, has been providing psychosocial support to displaced people in the Luhansk and Donetsk border regions of Ukraine since 2015.
“Especially for people who are suffering from the consequences of displacement from their homeland, old traumas are breaking out again. Many people ask themselves: at what level of conflict should one flee, what are the right criteria for this decision? In addition, a major topic in the therapy and group sessions is always: What do we do with the children? How do we tell them that we might have to leave our home? How do we talk to them about war?”, reports Titko.
Difficult economic situation and Covid-19
In addition, the economic situation in Ukraine is worsening almost daily as the cost of living keeps rising. “People don’t know what to expect: we report increased fear of the future and depression in many of the people we assist. After seven years of fear, people develop pathological anxiety”, Titko says.
Although the fear of war is displacing the acute concern about Covid-19, the number of infections in Ukraine is still high.
Last year, Malteser International provided individual or group sessions to 6,491 people displaced in the country, psychiatric telemedicine for 235 people and psychoeducation for 4,907 people in Ukraine.