First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska met with WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge. The parties discussed, in particular, the course of creation of the National Program of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Ukraine, which was initiated by the President’s wife.
Olena Zelenska thanked Hans Kluge for fruitful cooperation and support.
“We can say with confidence that WHO is our reliable partner in all processes related to the creation of the National Program of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support,” she emphasized.
For his part, Hans Kluge noted: “The experience of Ukraine is unique, and we should study it and share it with other countries in Europe and the world. The world’s health systems need to be better prepared to respond to emergencies that cause health consequences, including mental health.”
Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Lyashko also took part in the meeting. The parties discussed with WHO representatives the progress of the creation of the National Mental Health Program. In particular, an audit of the existing system is being completed, a target service model is being developed, after which a pilot project will be launched.
“With the help of international partners, we are creating a mental health support system that is unique for Ukraine and even for Europe. Psychological help will be available to everyone who needs it. Such help will soon be available from a family doctor. And thanks to the fact that primary care specialists will respond in time to the psychological problems of patients, serious mental disorders will develop less often. We will adequately respond to the challenges of war, heal all wounds, recover and build a country in which people and their health will always remain a priority,” said Viktor Lyashko.
The preparation of a national information campaign and the development of a research and educational platform is also underway.
Olena Zelenska emphasized that a number of strategic sessions were held, during which representatives of ministries and departments, various sectors, international organizations, as well as experts worked together to develop targeted mental health services and model optimal routes for their receipt.
“Last week, we had a strategic session with teenagers, and I am amazed at how open they are, how ready they are to talk about their problems, needs, and experiences. This inspires optimism. So, we are on the right track,” the First Lady said.
The wife of the President spoke about the digital solutions that are being developed in the framework of the preparation of the National Program. In particular, the WHO guide “Essential skills in times of stress” was integrated into the BetterMe mobile application. It gives you access to stress management techniques in a mobile format.
“Our principle remains unchanged: to create our own unique system of mental health care based on our own experience and the most effective foreign developments. So that psychological help becomes as common and accessible as regular medical help, and heals Ukrainians’ psychological wounds of the war,” Olena Zelenska summed up.