Last spring Caritas Ukraine started provision of psychological assistance to the victims of mass protests in Ukraine as well as their family members and witnesses. This assistance includes first psychological aid crisis intervention and long-term therapy. Individual and group support is provided by qualified professionals on the basis of regional organizations of Caritas Ukraine in Kiev, Kolomyia and Drohobych. In Kyiv additional four 4 psychologists and psychotherapists are involved. By the end of 2014 11 experts in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kyiv were engaged in addition to the initially planned work. In general more than 630 people are covered by this activity in Ukraine.
During last year Caritas provided psychological assistance to more than 100 victims of political conflicts in Ukraine. “Our ambition is to overcome the effects of acute stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other consequences of distressing events on the Maidan area and zone of Anti-Terrorist Operation.
All our society largely survived significant stress during last year: mass massacres, separation with family members who are currently in the war zone, funerals of family members and friends, daily stories on TV about injuries and tortures. Of course it was impossible for us to stand by these troubles. We selected 100 people most in need of psychological support immediately after the Euromaidan events “- Fr. Roman Syrotych, director of Caritas Kyiv, says.
Caritas Kyiv is pleased that beside qualified professionals numerous volunteers independently joined the project. For project staff it’s a remarkable criteria of Ukrainian’s desire to help fellow beings, to unite together to overcome the troubles.
Olga Lyashenko, psychologist of Caritas Kyiv says: “As my practical experience has shown, awareness and educational activities are no less important than counseling. This is because of the fact that psychologists in the project must work not in the comfortable office room, waiting for clients who can formulate their problems but in the “field” conditions, consulting affected people who are unaware of their condition and have no questions to a psychologist, especially to the behavioral therapist. People should receive some awareness information about the symptoms of PTSD and how to overcome it. Only after receiving of such information anybody can formulate the request to address his own problems or come to understanding of situation where people around him are suffering from PTSD“.
The main objective of the project is comprehensive assistance in recovery of victims:
• Education and awareness activities: spreading knowledge about the ontological foundations of mental health and the nature of acute stress and its symptomatic indicators.
• Information exchange on management of provision of psychological services process: how, who, what and where to get rehabilitation, psychological and psychotherapeutic assistance to Ukraine.
• Psychological counseling with emphasis on transfer (assignment) of environmentally safe methods, techniques, self-help techniques for clients themselves and other.
• Psychological support in setting links with the community and government authorities.
• Promotion of community mobilization of people affected by the problem for mutual support and participation in solving their own problems, including through the development of volunteering.
• Motivation for the transition to therapy where necessary.
• Attracting of additional specialists/ assistants/volunteers for achievement of the project objectives.