Psychosocial support in eastern Ukraine
Title: Developing service structures and training capacities for psychosocial support in eastern Ukraine
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine
Overall term: 2019 to 2023
An armed conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014. One of the consequences of this is the dramatically heightened need in the area of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). The Ukrainian health and social system was already structurally overwhelmed and is not able to cater for this need, especially in the administrative areas (oblasts) of Luhansk and Donetsk close to the conflict. Municipalities, civil society and education providers lack the technical and financial resources and the organisational capacity to guarantee continuous psychosocial care for internally displaced people and for local residents.
Elderly people, women, children and adolescents in particular, as well as war veterans, are suffering from this lack of care. The challenges regarding mental health and the well-being of individuals, groups and communities are also making it harder to develop good prospects for the future in the affected regions.
The development of a national strategy for improving mental health in the population (2017-2030) is a sign that the awareness of decision-makers about the need for strategic approaches has risen. However, a lack of human and material resources and an inadequate interdisciplinary cooperation between the ministries are hindering implementation
The needs-oriented psychosocial care has improved in the long term in selected communities in the administrative areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The project primarily promotes the development and expansion of structures and technical competencies, and so helps improve psychosocial care for the population in the long term. Through technical development, advisory services and networking, local service providers and civil society stakeholders are being strengthened in order to offer better psychosocial support. In cooperation with universities, regular courses are being supplemented with a postgraduate course in alignment with international standards. Moreover, the degree courses are being linked more closely with the practical application of the learned content.
Since 2014/2015, approaches – especially derived from humanitarian assistance – have been tested in the crisis region. However, they have not been secured for the long term. The project is picking up these approaches and anchoring them in local structures. The focus here is on interdisciplinary schemes and multi-stakeholder initiatives. They form the basis for the further development and establishment of psychosocial services. The transfer of experiences in the communities to national policies is also being promoted by the project.