Charity Provides Vital Mental Health Support for Ukrainian Refugees in UK

A charity is offering vital psychological support to thousands of Ukrainian refugees in the UK who are grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. Opora, acting as a mental health support hub, has been a beacon of hope for Ukrainians who sought refuge in the UK following the turmoil in their homeland since February 2022.

Recognizing the pressing need for mental health services, Opora has established various resources to assist the Ukrainian community. These include a dedicated psychological support channel on Telegram, a comprehensive mental health workbook, and an interactive map showcasing available psychological support services across the UK.

Recent studies by Care International have revealed that up to one-third of Ukrainian refugees may experience conditions such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. However, accessing psychological assistance through the National Health Service (NHS) can be challenging due to cultural and language barriers faced by many Ukrainians.

Yulia Huba, the project coordinator at Opora’s Mental Health Team, highlighted the difficulties faced by Ukrainians in accessing mental health services, emphasizing the lack of a system akin to the NHS in Ukraine. She stressed the importance of bridging the gap and breaking the stigma surrounding mental health in the country.

Huba shared her personal experience, stating, ‘Therapy changed my life some time ago, so now I want to help people from my home country to cope with this challenge.’ She emphasized the need for open conversations about mental health and encouraged individuals to seek help when needed.

PTSD symptoms continue to manifest in the daily lives of many Ukrainians who have experienced the trauma firsthand. Huba recounted a story where a woman expressed fear every time a plane flew overhead, illustrating the enduring impact of past events.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 9.6 million individuals in Ukraine are either at risk of or currently living with mental health conditions. The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the conflict and the future prospects of returning home further exacerbate the mental health challenges faced by Ukrainian refugees.

Stan Beneš, the managing director at Opora, highlighted the pervasive anxiety among refugees regarding their future and the lack of clarity on when they can safely return home. The constant state of limbo adds to the psychological burden carried by many individuals.


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