March 30, 2023

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Ukrainian refugees in Europe: a critical crisis in access to mental health services

Ukrainian refugees in Europe: a critical crisis in access to mental health services

Experts believe that many Ukrainians have fled the war in their country and may be suffering from serious mental health problems for a long time. Experts are concerned that refugees may be drawn into a long-awaited cycle of waiting for help as the need for medical advice is greater than available.

Experts say the need for mental health support has increased dramatically across Europe Five million people have fled Ukraine They have already had painful experiences.

Lucas Wells, executive director of the Federal Association of Psychological Community Centers for Refugees and Torture Victims in Germany (BAfF), estimates that one-third of Ukrainian refugees develop depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“If the suffering of these people is not addressed through counseling, support and treatment, they can develop chronic illnesses that can result in major health burdens for decades or even lives,” said Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), a German editorial network in Wells.

The number of people suffering from depression is increasing

For his part, IOM President Antonio Vittorino shared a similar assessment earlier this week that in situations of massive displacement, about 30 percent of the population is expected to experience psychological impact. Negative and mental problems. He said the number would “rise undoubtedly” if the war continued and intensified.

Earlier in April, post-traumatic stress disorder specialist Rita Rosner, in this figure Ukrainian refugees The number of people suffering from severe psychological trauma and mental health problems will increase in the coming weeks and months.

Rosner, a professor of medical and biological psychology at Catholic University in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, says:

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Refugees and immigrants say they have psychological problems but they are not always comfortable discussing them | Photo: D. Lipinski / Empix / Picture-Alliance

Not enough resources

Lucas Wells appealed to the federal and state governments in Germany and the European Union to provide immediate and adequate funding for the psychological and social care of refugees who have suffered torture and war.

According to Wells, the number of refugee mental health care providers in Germany – the largest country in the EU – which provides the largest number of refugees across Europe – is already low. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now, experts fear that the already long waiting lists will be longer than those of counselors.

“Health is a human right,” Wells said. “However, the vast majority of people in Germany seeking protection from torture, war and persecution are left alone in the face of their traumatic experiences.”

Assistants are also at risk

Meanwhile, Rita Rosner also warned of volunteers helping refugees from Ukraine. They may suffer from chronic mental health problems, he said.

According to Rosner, refugees can also be affected by trauma and find ways to protect themselves.  Photo: Daniel Peels / DW
According to Rosner, refugees can also be affected by trauma and need to find ways to protect themselves. Photo: Daniel Peels / DW

He added, “Now, everyone watches the news all day. You try to get as much information as possible. But at the same time, you can not do much to change anything. That is why you have to be so careful. You get this message every day.”, He said. As IBD told the news agency

“It also applies to providers,” Rosner continued. “They need breaks, especially for first-time helpers. They need to work harder on themselves and build a safety gate without ending up with violent stress.”

Cirtan Sanderson / AH / (KNA, EBD, AFP)