Newsletter. Psychosocial support to the people of Ukraine.

Newsletter No. 4 October 2022 The mental health and psychosocial support to the people of Ukraine

18.10 2022

Overview of content:

Cooperation with AHALAR
Coordinating the support to Ukraine
Cooperation with the Norwegian Refugee Council
25 students attended our 2nd GBV webinar
Collaboration with Academic Institutions
Collaboration with MART
Download the manuals

Dear friends, 

Thank you for your contribution, either with funding, with your expertise, or time to support the work we are doing inside Ukraine as well as in the surrounding areas. Without your help, we would not have been able to do the work we are now carrying out with professional helpers and volunteers in and around Ukraine. Being a small organisation and with your support, we have been able to respond very quickly to the needs on the ground in this war.  In this bulletin, we will give you a short summary of what we have done so far.

  • Training through webinars and follow up
  • Films with Ukrainian subtitles for use in lectures and webinars
  • Supervision and consultation
  • Lectures for students, professionals and volunteers
  • General information on mental health and support on our page, and constantly updating and revising this material

As time has passed and the war has been going on for more than 6 months, we continue with our focus on the mental health aspects of armed conflict. In particular, working with survivors of sexual violence as part of the war, supporting and caring for children affected by the war, including guidance to parents and teachers, establishing meetings with helpers, and dealing with the stresses that they are experiencing in this situation – “helping the helpers”.

Cooperation with AHALAR

We continue our previous engagement with AHALAR. Over the last months, we have had weekly talks on how to support the work AHALAR is doing in Chernihiv in collaboration with Les Simm in I FOUND GLOBAL and Rosanna Sarene.
We have since before the war, been part of  AHALAR`s retreat program, conducting lectures online, in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine. Now more than ever, it is important for helpers to recharge. In this collaboration, we are working both on supporting the helpers and how to make housing possible for the winter. By doing this we have a holistic approach to what affects mental health.

Coordinating the support to Ukraine

Anna Fedina runs our Ukrainian office smoothly and has daily contact with our collaborators within and around Ukraine. She is in charge of the translation to both Ukrainian and Russian. Her network and expertise are a great asset to our work, we especially would like to mention Kostya and Iryna Lobarchuk.
Anna has been attending Teaching Recovery Techniques – training with Children and War Foundation and has translated the powerpoint presentation into Ukrainian so that the Ukrainian participants who received certification can use it when training others in Ukraine or in the surrounding areas. In addition to this, she is also engaged in the International Child Development Programme (ICDP) and has also translated their presentation into Ukrainian.

Cooperation with the Norwegian Refugee Council

We have had conversations with former NRC manager and recently hired country coordinator Ann Marie Mc Kencie. Over several months, they have now hired staff for the NRC’s offices in Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Chernihiv. They want supervision and training on the topics of “helping the helpers” with staff and volunteers.

This is the reason why we have been in the process of engaging local Ukrainian psychologists, who will conduct group sessions with the workers and volunteers. In the meantime, we have conducted a webinar preparing them for some of the topics that will arise.

With our experienced colleagues, we have recorded five films on different topics that can be useful for helpers and professionals in connection to the work NRC and other organisations are doing on the ground. The films have Ukrainian subtitles, followed by PowerPoint presentations translated into Ukrainian. The idea is that the pre-recorded films will work as an introduction to the topic and afterward we will have an open discussion with one of our engaged psychologists leading the group discussion.  You can find the films and presentation here.

25 students attended our 2nd GBV webinar

The first three-day webinar early in May, in cooperation with Psychology Students Without Borders in Oslo /Bergen PUG – Psykologistudenter Uten Grenser was very successful. Svitlana Paschenko, at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv’s Faculty of Psychology (TSNUK) asked for a second GBV training manual webinar. This was because so many applied for the training that could only accept 25 students.

The second webinar took place at the beginning of June. Six of PUG Oslo/Bergen students were engaged in this program being led by the Norwegian psychology students Sofie Winther Kristiansen and Alba Banoun, together with 4 more students who were active in presenting at the webinar. It was also an encouragement that the training gave academic points to the Ukrainian students.


Collaboration with Academic Institutions 

In collaboration with the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo (UiO), we participated in the preparation and implementation of pre-recorded lectures with live group discussions afterward. The pre-recorded lectures in English and with subtitles in Ukrainian and PolishPowerpoint presentations are available here.

These webinars were conducted over a 6 week period in collaboration with Svitlana Paschenko, at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv’s Faculty of Psychology (TSNUK). Yuriy Usovich from AHALAR and Kateryna Rodynenko attached with our office, translated during the webinars. An important part of our work here was to facilitate the translation and to add subtitles to the pre-recorded lectures. This work was more time-consuming than expected, and we are grateful for the excellent support we received from our collaborators in Ukraine.


Supervision groups  

Supervision groups under the direction of Nora Sveaass at UiO and Svitlana Paschenko at TSNUK. Nora Sveaass has mobilized lecturers at the university and held 6 guidance groups with 5-6 participants in Ukraine. Sveaass has given 3 x 2-hour lectures on sexual violence and other types of abuse. Katinka Salvesen and Wenke Fjellstad have contributed with their expertise. MHHRI was responsible for the translation. The topic was trauma-related, and the participants were helpers working with soldiers, trauma survivors, and women who wants to return to Ukraine.

Collaboration with MART 

“How to assist children in the time of war and crisis”
Together with MART, located at the Human Rights House in Chernihiv, we arranged a series of webinars for psychologists and other helpers in Ukraine. The topic was  “How to assist children in the time of war and crisis” and was conducted by Helen Christie, Clinical psychologist, previous special advisor at the Regional Centre for Children and Adolescent Mental Health, (R-BUP), and Mari K Bræin Psychologist specialist and Clinical Director of Centre for Stress and Trauma Psychology. Ruslana Burova, the leader of NGO MART was in charge of involving participants in all three webinars. The PowerPoint presentations for the webinar can be found in both English and Ukrainian here.

Newsletter No 2 – March 2022
Psychological first aid, information for helpers in and around Ukraine

Please also have a look at our previous response to the dire situation in Ukraine and the need for first aid support, we have written a compilation of information. This is developed for helpers, volunteers, and professionals engaged in emergency work and support to persons exposed to war trauma, separation, and loss, including sexual violence.

In the newsletter, people will find information focused on psychological first aid and tools to mitigate the consequences of the war on helpers, volunteers, and professionals. You will find psychological information related to adults, children, groups, helpers, and others engaged in emergency work.


All manuals can be downloaded from the MHHRI website

There are three different manuals, which respectively address working with women, with boys and men, and with children who have experienced sexual violence.

The manuals are translated into several languages. The page numbers in each manual remain the same across languages. This allows survivors and helpers to work from copies in their preferred language and read the same content on the same pages. It also makes it easier to teach participants when participants and trainers work in more than one language. The manuals include a toolbox. Survivors can use it individually to regulate their own emotions through grounding exercises or in collaboration with a helper. Helpers can also use grounding exercises to take care of themselves as helpers.

We appreciate all your contributions to this important work

Without your contribution, economically, your knowledge and expertise, and your time – this work would not have been possible.
We hope that with this contribution we will be able to multiply the effort that has been put into helping refugees both within Ukraine and in the surrounding areas, in addition to helping helpers, aid workers, and other professionals.

Facebook and Instagram 
On our MHHRI Facebook page, and on Instagram we are continuously posting new and relevant articles that we add to our website, as well as events and videos. We also just launched our new LinkedIn page!

Thank you so much.

We are waiting for peace in Ukraine, in the meantime, we will do our best to create justice and human rights for all,

Take care – and wishing you all the best.
Sincerely yours,

Mental Health and Human Rights Info