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Volunteer hotline supports mental health needs

With rising mental health and psychosocial support needs in Ukraine, a volunteer hotline, supported by Humanity & Inclusion, allows affected populations to access services any time, from anywhere.

Humanity & Inclusion has partnered with the University of Medical Psychology of Chernivtsi and the Ukrainian Psychosocial Organization (UPSO) to support an existing mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) hotline. Originally launched by the Ministry 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, Humanity & Inclusion’s mental health and psychosocial support and health emergency manager in Ukraine. “It operates all day long, and is accessible from all over the country.”

Humanity & Inclusion 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 725 calls for mental health support in 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 connected with the appropriate specialist. In. March, 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 services,” Tahiroglu 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.”

Humanity & Inclusion plans to expand the collaboration with the university and UPSO to other cities.

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