Project initiated by GIZ in partnership with local organization “Charitable Fund “Vostok SOS” to train psychologists in eastern Ukraine in dealing with mental health and providing psychosocial support to local population, especially vulnerable groups

The conflict in the east of Ukraine has led to aggravation of problems with mental health among the local population.

As a result, the area requires more attention to the provision of high-quality psychosocial support.

Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantine measures undermined already weak economic situation shaken by the protracted conflict. The stress, tension and anxiety came to the families as a result of strengthening the quarantine measures and self-isolation. Many families in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast (eastern Ukraine) are at greater risk to poverty, social isolation, discrimination and marginalization.

The prevention of social stigma with the population of the region and especially the vulnerable groups requires much resources. It adds workload to the local social workers and psychologists.

With the human resource count in the local social services centers being drastically low – for instance Bilovodsk community center for social services can allocate only 1 specialist to work with 1-3 villages – the workload on one specialist is unmeasurable. The situation is aggravated by the distance between villages. Each visit puts additional stress to the staff which leads to high staff turnover and quick burnout.

To improve this situation and support social services centers in the in eastern Ukraine we initiated a project on quality and visibility of local psycho-social support in Bilovodska and Nyzhnyoduvanska communities.

The main objectives of the initiative are:

  1. We will train local psychosocial support specialists and introduce them to new methods in the area of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.
  2. Individuals and institutions will learn how to run mobile psychosocial support teams that can operate at local level.
  3. We want to show how the concept of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support can help to tackle violence, conflict and stress in local communities.
  4. By fostering a peaceful and constructive dialogue between different stakeholders and community members, we want to find a common approach to identify and solve problems in the field of psychosocial support.

After the trainings the social workers and psychologists will be able to implement the acquired skills at work and will share the knowledge with other specialists within the Oblast.

We hope that this approach will contribute to improvement of the social support in the region.