Caritas Lviv transforms lives of disabled youngsters


09.10.2013, Ukraine
The World Psychic Health Day has been marked since 1992. The World Health Organization declares that nowadays over 450 million people all over the world suffer from psychic diseases. According to the epidemiological data 5% to7% of population in the majority of countries are affected by psychic diseases and 15-23% of people have border psychic disorders.

Among the most spread psychic and behavioral disorders are depressions, suicides, schizophrenia, epilepsy and alcohol addictions. The WHO prognoses that the number of people who suffer from psychic diseases will grow: by 2020 their share among all diseases will reach 50%. Doctors point out that every third individual in Ukraine has psychic disorders.

The World Psychic Health Day is aimed to shorten dissemination of depressive disorders, schizophrenia, drug addiction, epilepsy, Alzheimer disease and mental deficiency. The level of morbidity is getting higher because of loads of information, political and economic troubles in the country; and stresses are premonitory signs of sickness. Life today is full of stressful moments: changes in political, economic, social situation, problems at work and in personal life. Stresses became a part of life for modern individual. Medical practitioners express opinion that people fight with stress without thinking that it is better to avoid it.

There is a certain amount of powers that each person has and with its help she/he can deal with stresses or difficulties that arise in exceptional conditions. Psychic health and well-being are considered an aspect of person’s health. The international standard of psychic health includes 10 components: intellect, flexibility, logical thinking, moral qualities, social behavior, eating habits, emotional state of being, attitude to own health, sexuality and being target-oriented. Development of nervous and psychic diseases is determined by genetic and social factors, and somatic diseases. There is a well-known fact that 70% of all chronic illnesses have psycho-somatic background.

Caritas Lviv started its activity for people with special needs in 2001 and became a basis for creation of other relevant organizations in Caritas Ukraine network. Hundreds of needful individuals in Lviv and oblast have benefited from center services for 12 years. Labor and leisure are balanced here: for many years young people make candles for ‘Christmas Candle’ all-Ukrainian charity initiative, organize fairs of artistic pieces made by disabled youngsters, visit library, go swimming, spend vacation at the sea or in Carpathians in summer and go ice-skating in winter. It is said here that employees and volunteers are perfectly connected by the common objective – to render possibility for people with mental disabilities to fulfill their unique individual potential, integrate in social life, support parents and relatives.

“Anastasia Oleksyuk has been visiting social center for youth with special needs in Caritas Lviv of the UGCC since 2005. The girl was born with Down syndrome; she is 28 years old now.

Firstly, when Nastya became a member of our family, she was very reserved. She often recollected being offended at school: classmates were mocking at her, making up different nicknames. As time went by in a new circle of friends she began to open, started to write prose and poetry. Afterwards, we published her volumes “Flames of love” that became a real holiday for her. She began to feel more confident and her parents have more serious attitude to her art.

Also Nastya learnt to work on computer, create artistic pieces from beads and embroider greeting cards in Caritas. Visits to the children library impact number of books read by Nastya and widen the circle of her friends. It affected her self-esteem and emotional condition.”

All in all, Network of centers for challenged youngsters unites 4 specialized social centers in Lviv, Drohobych, Stryi, and Ivano-Frankivsk. Over 100 individuals with special needs, their parents and relatives are seized with centers activities on a daily basis. People with special needs are guaranteed education; labor, art and music therapies; trainings on self-service and acquiring social and household skills; meetings with youth from other establishments and centers, leisure, recreation games, involvement in festivals and fairs, participation in summer camps, excursions etc. Parents of challenged individuals are granted with social and psychological follow-up; informational and legal support; they get involved in Caritas events, trips and camps, meet each other at joint events and seminars.

Experts say that over 350 million people on the planet suffer from depression. Doctors advise to avoid vanity, arrogance, ill self-love, greediness, jealousy and vengefulness to conserve psychic health. We would like to add that the best medicine from depression and stress is service to neighbors in need. It is good to be good! Take care of yourself and the closest ones.

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