HI staff, Jeremie (left) and Caglar (right) sign the official agreement to partner with the University of Medical Psychology of Chernivtsi and the Ukranian Psychosocial Organization. | © HI
With rising mental health and psychosocial support needs, the volunteer hotline allows affected populations in Ukraine to access services any time, from anywhere.
HI has partnered with the University of Medical Psychology of Chernivtsi and the Ukranian psycho-social organization (UPSO) to support an existing mental health and psychosocial support hotline. Originally launched by Minister of Health and the University during the peak of the covid-19 pandemic to provide remote services, the initiative has gained further importance for people affected by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“The hotline is supporting people in conflict zones, and people who cannot access mental health and psychosocial support services,” explains Caglar Tahiroglu, HI mental health and psychosocial support and health emergency manager in Ukraine. “It operates all day long, and is accessible from all over the country.”
HI is providing mental health and psychosocial technical support, equipment support and financial support to ensure that the service can run 24 hours a day. Operated uniquely by volunteers, the hotline has a total of 10 psychologists, who received a total of 725 calls for mental health support in the month of March alone. The hotline also provides support in other medical specialties, including therapists, pediatricians, pulmonologists, cardiologists, surgeons and gynecologists. Users simply dial the number, explain their need, and are immediately oriented towards the appropriate specialist. Over the course of one month, the hotline responded to nearly 6,000 calls across a variety of needs.
“This month, we will extend our support by providing trainings and clinical supervision groups to improve the mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services,” Caglar explains. “We will also provide MHPSS support to all of the hotline specialists to reinforce their capacities and we will provide staff care to prevent the risks of burnout when facing such important demand.”
HI is planning to expand the collaboration with the university and UPSO to other cities.