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Request for psychological aid in 2023 increased almost twice - Viktor Liashko

2 February 2024

This was announced by the Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko during the Ukrainian-German Conference on Mental Health, Psychosocial Support and Rehabilitation held in Berlin with the participation of the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Germany Elke Budenbender and the Minister of Health of Germany Karl Lauterbach.

During the conference, participants from Ukraine and Germany discussed the development of the rehabilitation care system in the healthcare sector and the construction of a mental health ecosystem, as well as strengthening cooperation within the framework of international medical partnership.

“More than 320 thousand patients received psychological aid at all levels in 2023. In general, we record that the volume of services provided in this area doubled last year compared to the previous year. Mental health is one of the main challenges of our time around the world, along with poverty, climate change, and rising prices. This is evidenced by the results of a study among 11 countries presented during the Third Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen,” said Minister Viktor Liashko. “For almost two years, Ukrainians have been living in a full-scale war. This poses enormous challenges to us and the medical system, especially in the area of physical and psychological rehabilitation. I am grateful to Germany for its ongoing comprehensive support of Ukraine and its medical system. The conference platform is a tool for exchange of experience between medical professionals, which makes it possible to develop the best solutions for the development of the industry.”

Minister Viktor Liashko emphasized that the first task that the Ministry of Health set for itself in the area of mental health support was to bring psychological care services closer to the patient. To this end, the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program, at the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska, has begun to scale up training for family doctors and pediatricians under the mhGAP (mental health gap action program). Currently, patients can receive psychological aid services free of charge at more than 860 primary care facilities. About 175,000 Ukrainians have already taken advantage of this opportunity, which is 36% of the total number of mental health referrals.

The next step is to set up a system of referrals to specialized professionals, create mental health centers at cluster hospitals, and develop separate psychological rehabilitation centers. Programs aimed at protecting and strengthening the mental health of healthcare workers themselves are also important, as the workload on them has increased significantly.

The process of building a system of rehabilitation care in the healthcare sector is ongoing. We are talking about more than 250 rehabilitation departments in cluster and supercluster hospitals across the country and 6 specialized national-level institutions. The minister emphasized that last year the focus was on the availability of free rehabilitation care, and this year the ministry is actively working on its quality.