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93% of residents in Donetsk and Luhansk regions suffered «war trauma»


This was announced by Maryna Shpiker, a research scientist from Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), during the roundtable meeting "A year since the conflict started: Humanitarian map of Donbas civilians' needs and blocking of humanitarian aid", initiated by Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center and Dopomozhemo TV.

"93% of the polled residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions mentioned that since the start of the conflict they experienced potentially traumatic event and/or have symptoms typical for "war trauma" and other psychological disorders", – Maryna Shpiker shared the scary numbers with participants of the roundtable meeting.

Sociologists have processed the data of research, conducted by KIIS in June 2015 by order of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center and "Dopomozhemo TV", and received a horrifying picture of how the war cripples human souls.

"81% of respondents in ATO area confessed that they suffered an event, causing strong fear and a sense of helplessness, and 45% experienced or were the witness of other people getting severe injuries or being killed", – Shpiker disclosed the statistics.

All of this couldn't help but affect the mental balance of Donbas civilians. 78% of respondents have constant problems with sleep, 71% suffer continuous sharp sense of anxiety, tension and confusion. People live with the permanent sense of hopelessness and believe that nothing good can be expected in the future. There are cases when these symptoms superimpose on one another. In addition, every tenth respondent said that he/she had all these symptoms and experienced both types of traumatic events.

Even those who did not find themselves face to face with the horrors of war have serious problems with mental health. For example, 40% of respondents admitted that although they did not get heavy traumas and did not face the situations of death threats, they still have intense fear and a sense of helplessness.

The share of those, whose psyche still withstands enormous stresses of war, is negligibly small – only 4% of research participants.

However, according to Daryna Pyrogova, a research scientist at KIIS, despite the difficult situation, many of the respondents still refuse from psychological assistance, finding it not important for them. 

"They actually think that others have psychological problems. And they don’t. It is necessary to eliminate the stigmatization and tell that there is no shame in addressing psychologists. Just on the contrary, it is normal, – Daryna Pyrogova says.

Despite the fact that 19% know about the possibility of getting psychological assistance, provided by Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, people do not rush to address psychologists.

According to Darya Kasyanova, the head of "Psychological Assistance for Children" at Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, this is due to the fact that there is no culture of psychological assistance and its receipt in Ukraine. "Unfortunately, Ukrainians are not serious about their health, including the psychological consequences that affect their quality of life", – Darya Kasyanova thinks.  

The research results confirmed that war and displacement process are the critical state for a person and in these conditions the main objectives are satisfaction of basic needs - food, security and shelter. Today all these needs of Donbas civilians are not satisfied, that is why they have no understanding of the need in psychological help.

"People pay the least attention to such problems as insomnia and anxiety, therefore we can help the whole family now only through work with children, – Darya Kasyanova shares. – It is important to understand the fact that war trauma has long-term consequences. Often people come to us after 4-5 months since the shelling or a traumatic event. That is why Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center provides help in towns on both sides of the contact line: Donetsk, Mariupol, Makiivka, Yenakiieve, Khartsyzk and many other settlements. As of today the volunteering Humanitarian Center's psychologists helped 16,000 Donbas children. Till the end of 2015 we are planning to provide psychological assistance to more than 100,000 Donbas children".

On June 23, during the roundtable meeting on "Humanitarian map of Donbas needs. One year later" Kyiv International Institute of Sociology presented the results of research that was made by order of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center and "Dopomozhemo TV" on June 2-8, 2015. 2,100 respondents older than 18 were polled through telephone and computer interviewing - CATI. Residents of 27 towns of Donetsk and Luhansk regions participated in the surveying. The research data is shown in the interactive Humanitarian map of current situation and needs in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.