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Ukrainian refugees in Poland get help for trauma you can’t see — mental health.



#Ukrainian #refugees #Poland #trauma #psychological #well being

Now, she will be able to solely follow by herself on a patch of open flooring in a refugee middle right here within the Polish capital.

Yana is certainly one of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian kids dealing with change: compelled to depart her house, her passions and her father behind within the aftermath of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of their nation.

“There have been explosions there and stuff like that,” she stated quietly, recalling that she heard greater than she truly noticed.

“I am simply not afraid of it very a lot,” she added.

Her mom, Liudmyla Bats, stated Yana may be very sturdy and stated she hopes that when her daughter tells her she is doing OK, she actually means it.

However sitting in her bathrobe after a welcome bathe on the Area Ursynów, a sports activities complicated now used to briefly home Ukrainian refugees, Bats talked about her personal trauma.

“Even right here, each time after I hear some sounds and when the airplane is flying, I am afraid,” she stated.

Bats and her kids are benefiting from the well-documented generosity of the Poles — shelter, meals, even a desk well-stocked with pencils and paper for Yana to make use of whereas attending digital college on her cellphone.

However much less recognized is the assistance Polish leaders and personal organizations are offering Ukrainian refugees coping with what we will not see: the psychological well being of the largely ladies and kids who crossed the border.

Greater than 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland, and, in line with the Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, there are some 300,000 within the capital metropolis alone. He stated 100,000 are kids and already 15,000 Ukrainian refugees are enrolled in Polish colleges — some together with his personal kids.

“I discuss to my youngsters as a result of they attend Warsaw colleges with Ukrainian youngsters. They are saying that these youngsters are extremely resilient, however you by no means know what’s beneath the floor. And, after all, this is without doubt one of the main issues. I imply, well being care — psychological well being,” the mayor stated.

Trzaskowski stated he has briefly directed most of the metropolis’s psychiatrists, psychologists and different psychological well being social companies to assist the Ukrainian refugees.

Personal organizations are prioritizing the care too — leaving leaflets at practice stations for arriving refugees to see.

“We’re all traumatized, particularly after what we have seen previously days on tv. And a few of these youngsters have been simply escaping bombs. A few of them have been seeing members of their household being killed. I imply, that is one thing that we’ve issues imagining,” Trzaskowski stated. “Now we have a number of traumatized youngsters in Warsaw who need assistance.”

“My associates from Ukraine inform me that they’ll deal with preventing and rebuilding their nation as a result of we maintain their households and their youngsters,” he added, referring to the boys who stayed behind.

Now not an afterthought

The emphasis on psychological well being is a really trendy strategy to caring for struggle refugees. It wasn’t that way back that it was an afterthought, if a thought in any respect.

At a Jewish Hillel Middle in downtown Warsaw, Milena Konovalova leads group remedy classes for refugee ladies. She not too long ago fled Ukraine herself.

“Each girl wants one other girl who can take heed to her,” she stated. “Earlier than the struggle in Ukraine, I labored as a ladies’s psychologist. I labored solely with ladies, and I perceive how vital it’s for girls to speak, to speak to different ladies.”

Konovalova will not be Jewish, however the Hillel Middle is certainly one of many organizations opening their doorways for all Ukrainians with any type of want.

Throughout a latest session, Konovalova and 5 different ladies sat round a desk coated with rose petals in what she calls a ladies’s circle.

The lyrics of the tune “Be Your self” by Peruquois crammed the room as the ladies took turns lighting candles. Feelings rushed to the floor. Tears flowed as the ladies linked and shared their experiences.

Whereas the ladies talked, their kids performed in a makeshift day care middle on the opposite facet of the room. A few of them have been too younger to grasp, blissful simply to be taking part in with toys and different kids.

However a few of them do perceive. Younger women like eight-year-old Antonina, who stated she is aware of that she’s in Poland due to the struggle.

“As a result of Putin has one thing in his head,” she defined.

It seems not all grown-ups make good selections, we stated throughout our dialog.

“Relating to Putin, sure,” Antonina shot again.

The refugee kids, identical to kids in the USA, have been already coping with psychological well being challenges from being remoted throughout nearly two years of the pandemic. Now, having left the nice and cozy comforts of house, to not point out their fathers who stayed in Ukraine to combat, any transfer towards a pre-pandemic normalcy has been cruelly interrupted.

Their moms throughout the room are looking for emotional assist to assist themselves and put them in a greater place to deal with their household’s wants and traumas.

“Once we discuss to different ladies, we hear that we’ve the identical issues, and after we see our scenario from a distance, we are able to remedy it,” defined Konovalova.

“Essentially the most distinguished trauma is that girls do not see tomorrow. They don’t seem to be certain, they doubt, they’re frightened or scared, they do not really feel protected anyplace,” she stated. “And it is vital to convey to them that there’s tomorrow, that they’re in a heat and secure place, that the kids can have porridge tomorrow, and she is going to have the ability to tuck him in, go for a stroll with the kid. It is vital to know that tomorrow will occur.”