Since February 2022, CARE and partners have reached over 466,000 people affected by the crisis, across Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Georgia, and Germany with protection and psychosocial support, cash assistance, food, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, health services, support for accommodation, and education.
Geneva/Lviv/Warsaw, 2022-08-24 – Since the escalation of war in Ukraine on February 24, more than 10 million women and children have been negatively impacted according to the UN. With an estimated one third of Ukrainian refugees expected to develop depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, there is an urgent need to provide support to those suffering from ongoing war trauma now and in the months and years to come, warns CARE.
“The fear and grief that wars create leave deep internal scars-scars that hurt every bit as much, if not more, than physical scars,” says Isadora Quay, CARE International’s Global Gender in Emergencies Coordinator. “Left unaddressed, this fear and grief can have a profound long-term, negative impact and lead to a range of serious mental health issues or even suicide.”
Sarah Easter, a member of CARE’s global emergency team, travelled to Ukraine recently and heard countless stories of fear, distress, terror, heartbreak, and hope. She shared, “We cannot sit idly by and watch women and children suffer from ongoing psychological distress and its complications. Women told me about missiles going through apartments and dead bodies on the street, but also that as a consequence of the war, when searching for safe places, they found closed public facilities or not fully functional health facilities, preventing them from receiving adequate help. We urgently need to step up our assistance so that women and children can receive the mental health and psychosocial support they need to survive, heal, and face the future.”
Maya, 62, from Kyiv shared her story with Ms. Easter, “It sounded like rain, but there were no clouds. When I stepped out onto the balcony, a missile flew by. That’s when I decided to flee west. The evacuation train went through the active war zone. It was announced that we should turn off our phones. Then the lights went off and we continued very slowly. The train was dead quiet.”
CARE and our partners are providing support to families, women and children who have seen and experienced the horrors of war in Ukraine.
“We are employing psychosocial workers through organizations in Poland, Ukraine, and Romania to provide much-needed support to those impacted by the war, as well as providing relief activities for families and children and information on where to seek further help, including anonymously through hotlines. CARE’s partners have also produced a book that helps people process their feelings and learn useful coping strategies. Not everyone is comfortable speaking directly with a mental health professional, so we have designed a range of activities and approaches to suit different needs,” said Ms. Quay.
Tamara, a psychologist with a Ukrainian organization supported by the Center for Women’s Perspective, a CARE partner, said, “Most of my patients either live in the past, or in the future. I help them to live in the present. I normally start by letting them explain their fear, maybe let them draw it. Most of my patients are stressed and in shock. I try and decrease their level of fear. I believe there will be a lot of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“As mental health needs increase, psychosocial and mental health support must be made available, and accessible to affected women, men and children, and treated with the same urgency as meeting physical needs. Lives and futures depend on it,” says Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, CARE International’s Secretary General.
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About CARE Canada:
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization working around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice. CARE puts women and girls at the centre of our work because we know we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls to lift themselves, their families, and communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE works in over 100 countries around the world.
To learn more about CARE Canada, visit www.care.ca.