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Psychosocial help for internally displaced people

Malteser International is providing psychosocial help for internally displaced people in the regions of Kiev, Luhansk and Donetsk in cooperation with the Ukrainian Order of Malta. Many of those affected have been forced to flee their homes because of the conflict between government and opposition forces in the east of the country. A particular emphasis is on providing help to children and their families - in order to bring them some degree of stability.

As a result of the conflicts in eastern Ukraine and the subsequent annexation of Crimea by Russia, there have been several displacement movements in the past. Nearly 2.9 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. The situation remains widely tense and fears within the population of new fighting are high. Implementation of the Minsk peace agreement reached in 2015 remains fragile. There is no political solution in sight. None of the more than twenty negotiated ceasefires has held so far.

People along the so-called contact line are often traumatized by their experiences and suffer from fears that weigh heavily on them and make it difficult or even impossible for them to settle into their new homes. However, mental health is an important prerequisite for the beginning reconstruction and for a functioning community and society.

The Covid 19 pandemic is adding further stress to people's lives: closures of the line of contact, restrictions on movement, and reduced opportunities to sustain their own livelihoods are weighing on people's minds. Reports of domestic violence are on the rise. Likewise, stigmatization of Covid 19 risk groups is occurring. Medical staff are overburdened by the immense stress and extra work.

Since 2015, our goal has been the psychosocial stabilization of people affected by the Ukraine conflict and the improvement of local offers for psychosocial support.

With our projects, we aim to achieve the following:

  • More than 65,000 people affected by the Ukraine conflict participate in various psychosocial stabilization and psychoeducation measures.
  • More than 2,800 representatives of local psychosocial support services take advantage of offers of exchange and qualification.
  • 840 health professionals take advantage of offers for stress management and burn-out prevention in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Direct support for displaced deople and their host communities:

  • Creation and distribution of basic information and education material
  • Psychosocial support in the form of individual and group meetings or activities in community centers, which can also take place by telephone and online
  • We provide psychosocial support through mobile teams that can respond to acute needs.
  • We implement EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) for trauma therapy.
  • Transfer of special cases of need to the trauma center based on the assessment of psychological factors or reached through telehealth


Training and awareness raising - support for self-help:

  • We help build referral systems and connect relevant stakeholders by participating in and organizing roundtable discussions and conferences with representatives of local authorities and civil society, as well as specialist personnel.
  • We conduct specialized training and education for specialist personnel, volunteers and representatives of local authorities.
  • We provide supervision for professionals and volunteers for quality assurance.
  • We implement CETA (Common Elements Treatment Approach) to make assistance available in a decentralized manner by working with counselors.

Supporting the health system during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Offer stress management and burn-out prevention services for healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, caregivers).

Country info

Capital: Kyiv
Area: 603,628 km²
Popuation: c. 45.5 Million

Project data

Project duration: since May 2015
Donors: German Federal Foreign Office, Aktion Deutschland Hilft (Germany's Relief Coalition), private donors
Partners: Malteser Ukraine, Mental Health Service, Word Help 

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