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Situation in Ukraine getting worse: "What do we do with the children?"

Group session in a Malteser International project at the Center for Psychological Rehabilitation in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region. Photo: Stanislav Krupar/Malteser International

Malteser International sees increasing demand for psychological support and first aid courses

Cologne/Liviv. The population in Ukraine is increasingly suffering from the consequences of the tense situation in the border conflict 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 has been providing psychosocial support to displaced people in the Luhansk and Donetsk border regions of Ukraine since 2015.

"Especially for people we have been supporting for a long time and 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, he says, the economic situation in Ukraine is worsening almost daily. "The costs of living keep rising, and many don't know what will happen in the future: We see increased fear of the future and depression in our projects. After seven years of fear, people develop pathological anxiety and nightmares", Titko says. 

Although the fear of war is displacing the acute concern about Covid-19, the case numbers in Ukraine are still high. "It feels like everyone is sick", Titko says. Normality has long been no question anyway. This has an impact on people's psyches, he said, wearing them down and further increasing the need for psychological and psychosocial support. "The Federal Foreign Office has called on all German citizens to leave the country. We are in close contact with our colleagues on the ground and are preparing for possible further assistance", says Oliver Hochedez, Head of the Emergency Department of Malteser International.

Last year, Malteser International provided individual or group sessions for 6,491 people displaced in the country, psychiatric telemedicine for 235 people and psychoeducation for 4,907 people in the Ukraine.  

Attention editors:

Pavlo Titko, Head of Malteser Ukraine in Lviv (English) and
Oliver Hochedez, Head of the Emergency Department of Malteser International in Cologne, are available for interviews and sound bites.

Operator: +49 (0)221 98227 180, kathrin.muenker(at)malteser-international.org


Keyword: "Ukraine"


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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