The psychological cost of the war between Russia and Ukraine

The current war between Russia and Ukraine has had, and will continue to have significant impact on mental health in the medium and long term. If we go by the records of previous conflicts around the world, up to 30% of those involved, especially veterans (on both sides of the conflict) could be affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

On May 3, 4, 5 and 6, 2022, Melinda Endrefy, AMURTEL’s emergency psychologist, and Dr. Ismael Eduardo Pérez García, Ph.D. in Legal and Forensic Psychology, and researcher at the Legal and Forensic Psychology Unit at the University of Santiago de Compostela., conducted in-depth assessments of twenty Ukrainian people that had been displaced by the war for at least one month with the aim of identifying primary psychological damage or symptoms of PTSD.

The goal of this research is to inform specific intervention strategies that can mitigate the long-term effects of PTSD, tailored to the current needs directly observed in the sample population. Additionally, the assessment team was impressed to discover certain resiliency factors in the individual and collective coping strategies observed. In the conclusion of this assessment, the team outlines how future MHPSS (Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support) interventions can build on the positive aspects of those factors.

Two such psychological factors that the team directly witnessed in many of those assessed include a strong sense of national unity, strength and optimism that has been consolidated by external threat, and the presence of strong religious beliefs and sentiments. The team observed that the presence of these variables in different degrees appeared to correlate with enhanced resilience and to serve in cushioning the stress generated by the different scenarios created by the war.

You can download the research here:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Effect of the War in Ukraine on Vulnerable Groups