“We will suffer all our lives”: the impact of the war on the mental health of Ukrainians

“When I go to bed, I see them; the companions I lost, how I got them out, without limbs, how they died in my arms.” This is what Dmytro, a Ukrainian soldier, tells the BBC.

After fifteen months on the front in the Donetsk region in UkraineDmytro now takes its Mental Health in hand. He is being treated in a rest center in the north of the country. Last year, about 2,000 soldiers came there for consultations and physiotherapy sessions. The staff of the center insists: it is indeed a place of rest and not of rehabilitation. Most of them return to the front afterwards. According to the centre, Ukraine would do its best to help its military to hold until the end.

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“We will suffer the consequences all our lives”, says Dmytro, his eyes moist. His wife, Tetiana, admits that her husband has changed, and not only physically. Pavlo, a pilot of drone who enjoys a break in the center, admits he has trouble sleeping and feels lost. “Sometimes we don’t know what to talk about with our colleagues, because our interests have changed, he reveals. I don’t want to tell them everything I see. Something has changed, and even broken.”

His role on the front lines exposes him to a number of horrors that others don’t see. He now finds himself in a psychological no man’s land. “Every day on the front, I want to go home. But when I’m at home, I have this strange feeling of wanting to go back to my comrades.

A national plan for mental health

The staff of the center believe that it will take up to twenty years to mentally rehabilitate the Ukrainian population after the guerre. Yana Ukrayinska, who works at the Ministry of Health, explains that the country is preparing to provide psychological help for one in two citizens. “We are preparing to offer psychological support to around fifteen million Ukrainians, she told the BBC. We hope not to need it, but we are convinced that we must be ready.

The Russian invasion has forced millions of people from their homes, their families. They were faced with the violence and the loss of all their property. Experts say that the most common mental disorders today are stress and anxiety, but they believe that post-traumatic stress disorder will take on a real dimension in a few years.

First Lady Olena Zelenska recently launched a national mental health program. Only, the country being in shortage of therapists, it emphasizes self-care. Some therapists do not hesitate to go to workshops therapy bodily, which consists of sharing one’s sentiments before exploring touch and movement as a group. «It’s very important to me to stay in shape so that I have the resources to help others.” says Inna, therapist.

The weight of conflict is not limited to the trenches. People are all connected to war in countless ways, no matter where they are.

Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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