The psychological well being of Ukrainians and people in exile was on the coronary heart of discussions for the primary time on the WHO psychological well being coalition assembly on Wednesday (4 Could), attended by EU Well being Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. EURACTIV France reviews.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, greater than 5 million individuals have fled the struggle, primarily to nations bordering Ukraine, similar to Poland, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia.
“Ten weeks of the war in Ukraine have brought untold uncertainty, insecurity, grief and loss,” mentioned Hans Kluge, head of Europe for the World Well being Organisation (WHO), on the opening of the coalition talks.
The coalition, introduced in 2021, goals to enhance the standard of psychological healthcare and promote lifelong psychological well being care throughout Europe.
In keeping with Kluge, nations receiving refugees have seen an “increase in demand for health and mental health services due to the large influx.”
“WHO Europe and Central Asia has deployed mental health and psychosocial support experts to work with national authorities to address the mental health needs of Ukrainians who have fled their country,” Kluge added.
The struggle in Ukraine has exacerbated the psychological well being issues already current within the EU and prompted “trauma” amongst refugees, in accordance with Kyriakides, who introduced that the EU would allocate €2 million to the psychological well being and well-being of migrants and refugees.
“We are doing everything we can to address their mental health needs,” the commissioner added earlier than warning that the present psychological well being issues can be “with us for many years”.
The coalition needs to assist Ukrainians, medical groups on the bottom, and people affected by the battle.
“It is difficult to describe what colleagues are going through,” mentioned Jarno Habicht, WHO’s consultant in Ukraine. He added that the trauma for each medical groups and refugees “will be with us for two or three generations to come.”
Habicht additionally careworn the problem for medical groups on the bottom and in neighbouring nations to supply psychological assist to Ukrainians as they transfer to flee the struggle, whether or not in their very own nation or elsewhere in Europe.
“How do we reach them? How do we restore trust?” he requested. “People are afraid to come back to their homes. Water and electricity are not always there. Houses can be bombed at any time,” he added.
Habicht additionally highlighted the dear assist from medical groups from NGOs such because the Purple Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who’re “providing mental health support”.
“This is a huge task that has been waiting for us for decades and that none of us had imagined when the coalition was launched,” he added.
Migrant psychological well being
Psychological well being appears to be excessive on the WHO’s agenda today. On Wednesday, the UN well being company printed a report warning in regards to the penalties of detention on the psychological well being of migrants.
The longer the interval of detention, the more serious the psychological well being of detainees turns into, the report discovered.
Whereas the psychological well being issues of migrants are “well documented”, psychological care and assist is “often lacking”, it provides.
“The mental health of migrants and refugees should be addressed by a country’s traditional mental health services, as neighbouring countries [to Ukraine] do,” Kluge mentioned on the coalition’s discussions.
Extra broadly, the WHO calls on EU nations to handle the difficulty of residents’ psychological well being, mentioning that just about 130,000 individuals commit suicide every year within the area – an “unacceptable figure”, particularly because the COVID-19 pandemic has “further aggravated the situation,” mentioned Kluge.
“Mental health is a complex area that the national health system cannot address alone,” he additionally mentioned.
Some nations have already put methods in place. France, as an illustration, launched a serious nationwide survey on the well being of youngsters aged 3 to 11 on Monday (2 Could).
[Edited by Alice Taylor]