Viktor Liashko: Taking care of the needs of those who care about us, risking their own lives on the frontline - this is how we see the implementation of the Heroes’ policy
The Fifth Meeting is held in a new, interactive format, the Interagency Coordination Council on Mental Health and Psychological Assistance to Victims of the Armed Aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The purpose of the meeting was to test the effectiveness of cooperation between different agencies and to create a unified system.
The participants presented the interim results of the implementation of ministerial projects that implement the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program “How Are You?” and looked for new management solutions so that, like puzzles, all these projects together give a common vision and complement each other. They also talked about how to synchronize the projects of all agencies so that the assistance is truly systemic and everyone can receive quality psychological help when they need it.
“Our meeting today coincided with a difficult date. We have many such dates now. A year ago on this very day, russia shelled the center of Vinnytsia, killing 29 people, patients and staff of a local clinic, including a little girl Liza, a child with Down syndrome. Let's realize that we are here to answer this difficult question: how to live on? To Liza’s mother, to all parents who have lost children, and to all children who have lost parents. And to the families who, in addition to the war, have a difficult diagnosis in their family. And we have to answer how to cope with the experience of wounds, losses, and captivity for the defenders and their families,” said First Lady Olena Zelenska.
Together with their families and immediate social circle, veterans make up approximately 30% of Ukraine’s population. The state's task is to support defenders at the front and not to lose a person after demobilization and return to civilian life, to ensure continuous assistance to prevent possible negative consequences of the traumatic experience of war.
“Taking care of the needs of those who care about us, risking their own lives at the front, is how we see the implementation of the Heroes’ Policy,” said Minister of Health Viktor Liashko, “Mental health is one of the key topics here. Bringing psychological assistance services closer to the individual is the goal of the priority project “Mental Health Care in the Structure of Medical Care” implemented by the Ministry of Health as part of the First Lady’s initiative to develop and implement the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program.”
In particular, the Ministry of Health is working to integrate mental health services in primary care. More than 28,000 specialists, including about 13,000 family doctors, have already been trained under the WHO mhGAP program and are able to provide basic care to patients with common mental disorders. Currently, basic psychological assistance is available free of charge in 583 primary health care facilities. Since the beginning of 2023, more than 17 thousand unique patients have taken advantage of this opportunity. The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, was attended by representatives of central executive authorities, heads of executive agencies, people’s deputies, representatives of the Office of the President, the Coordination Center for Mental Health under the Cabinet of Ministers, and the non-governmental sector.
For reference: The Interagency Coordination Council on Mental Health and Psychological Assistance to Persons Affected by the Armed Aggression of the russian federation (ICC) was established by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 539 of 7 May 2022. It is a temporary advisory body of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
Support for the development and implementation of the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program “How Are You?” initiated by First Lady Olena Zelenska is provided by the Mental Health Coordination Center under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine with expert partnership and support from WHO. The decision-making platform is the Interagency Coordination Council of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. I. Vereshchuk, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration, and V. Liashko, Minister of Health, were approved as co-chairs of the IСC. The IСC includes ministers/deputy ministers, people’s deputies, representatives of the President’s Office, and WHO.