Stories of Impact

Imagine the world where people get the help they need, when they need it the most. We strive to achieve that vision every day.

Grant Provides Mental Health Support To Ukrainian Hospitals, Refugees

Lend a hand help painted in ukrainian flag colors against blue sky. Stand with Ukraine

By Kaitlyn Nuebel

Over 18 million Ukrainians were living in frontline regions when war broke out, and an estimated hundreds of thousands suffered psychological trauma from witnessing atrocities. A partnership between Brother’s Brother Foundation and Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry will help Ukrainians access to the psychological care they need.

When Russian troops invaded the Khalyavyn village, staff at Chernihiv Regional Neuropsychiatric Hospital and their 308 patients took cover. The next day, the hospital was bombed and shelled, and they were forced to live without heat, electricity, and water for four weeks until they were liberated. Thirty-four patients died during that time. They were buried outside the hospital, in a small cemetery hospital workers made with their hands.

With 152 cultural sites damaged and $2.1 billion of farmland destroyed, the physical ramifications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are extensive. It has upended psychiatric hospitals and care homes that rely on stable environments to function.

According to The World Health Organization psychiatric hospitals and care centers in Ukraine have experienced 100 attacks since the start of the war. Many face damages similar to those at Chernihiv regional Neuropsychiatric Hospital – destroyed infrastructure, no power, and limited access to supply lines.

To support mental health relief in Ukraine, Brother’s Brother Foundation has provided a grant to the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP). Together, the organizations will help Dr. Tanya Dergach from the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association deliver aid and supplies to psychiatric hospitals in need – including those in active war zones.

In addition to mitigating the war’s impact on people suffering from mental illness, BBF and FGIP are also providing psychological support to first responders, who are at an increased risk of experiencing burnout and trauma from the war. With the help of BBF, FGIP will train three groups of 10 to 15 mental health professionals to aid first responders in managing their mental health during their involvement in the war.

The lack of mental health resources is also problematic for Ukrainians who have fled the country. Over 18 million people were living in frontline regions when the war broke out, and hundreds of thousands suffered psychological trauma from witnessing atrocities. BBF’s partnership with FGIP will further develop, a web-based platform that provides education and resources for coping with the war’s psychological consequences. Those without internet access can receive the information through an app on their phone. Mental health resources will be provided to those who need it through Telegram, Signal, or Zoom. As of April 15, the program had more than 16 million views on Facebook and 30,0000 users on the website.

For Ukrainian refugees, language barriers have stood in the way of receiving psychological care. Lithuania has received nearly 50,000 Ukrainian refugees, but without the ability to speak Lithuanian, many refugees may not understand available care. BBF in partnership with FGIP, will create a crisis center to manage the influx of patients seeking professional help. The crisis center, expected to open in the beginning of August, will be staffed by health specialists from Belarus and Ukraine and overseen by Lithuanian colleagues.