People around the world can turn their pain from traumatic events into resilience if they take care of their mental health, Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska said on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, which is celebrated around the world on October 10.
As the First Lady noted, “the issue of mental health is one of the global challenges of the future, which worries people just like issues of inflation, poverty, climate change, loss of work and income.”
“Recently, we have become more acutely aware that the world is truly global. Everything that happens in it, from terrorist attacks to earthquakes, from famine to climate change, will sooner or later affect us all. The well-being of every person, every country,” she said.
According to Zelenska, “if we talk about Ukrainians, it is clear that the war affects us. But it affects not only us, since, according to sociologists, the psychological consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine are felt by almost 40% of people in the United States and in many countries of Europe.”
“However, what people feel in Ukraine is hard to feel outside its borders. Since every new day for every person is a physical risk. And Ukrainian parents have to get used to the constant questions of their children: ‘Mom, dad, won’t they kill us today?'” The first lady said.
“The slogan of our communication campaign (within the framework of the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program – IF-U) is – How are you? This is the most popular question in the country. This is what we ask each other after shelling, write to loved ones at the front. Naturally, we all dream of hearing an answer at least a short “I’m ok”. But will it be honest? The goal of our program is for this answer to be not soothing, but actually sincere. So that every person, despite his personal terrible experience of war, feels that he is in control of himself, that he can find a way out and that others will not be indifferent towards him,” she said.
According to Zelenska, “in Ukraine they believe that if you work with trauma, and not hush it up, it can be turned into post-traumatic growth.”
“It seems to me that this is an important signal for all people and countries that are going through their trials: we can all turn pain into resilience if we take care of mental health. I thank everyone who helps us with this. Because no person, no country can to survive without support. We care about resilience – our own and global, so that the world can survive,” she said.
The First Lady also said the Ukrainian Mental Health Program provides for the development of a system to support the psychological state of Ukrainians. Ukrainian specialists work in extreme conditions and with very traumatized people.
“They are looking for new approaches to atypical situations and have already developed many unique techniques that the world should know about,” she said.