Mental health and well-being of internally displaced people: copying tactics and resilience in conflict-affected societies: the new research project

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The University of Birmingham team together with Ukrainian colleagues starts the new project, which overarching objective is to explore the situation surrounding the provision of mental health support to conflict-affected people and the level of mental health issues among internally displaced.

According to research conducted by International Alert about one third of IDPs experience various forms of mental health issues, but only a 26 per cent have applied for a professional help. Thus, there is an urgent need to explore the barriers to receiving mental health support, and what domestic and international actions have to be taken to address these issues.

The research questions are: how does the experience of living in a war-torn territory shape IDPs’ and former militants’ everyday life and constitute their future expectations; which methods of self- and community support people do use to maintain their mental wellbeing? what prejudices are common towards mental health and mental health professional support; what are the policies towards mental health in Ukraine?; which capacities do the health care system, private sector and NGOs have? how does it affect internally displaced people?

This will be achieved via using interdisciplinary methodologies – surveys to explore PTSD, hope and resilience; in-depth interviews with IDPs, mental health professionals, authorities and NGOs, analysis of mental health statistics.

Project’s team is comprised from colleagues from the University of Birmingham: Dr Irina Kuznetsova (PI), Dr John Round from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Dr Jonathan Catling, School of Psychology, and Professor Oksana Mikheieva, Ukrainian Catholic University and Dr Svitlana Babenko, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund, UK.

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