NPA PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT HOTLINE
On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation attacked Ukraine. Russian troops are bombing Ukrainian towns and villages, destroying schools, hospitals, kindergartens. Russian soldiers occupy a number of settlements, block the civilians from leaving the areas, and shell “green corridors” of evacuation and humanitarian supply from Ukraine and its allies. Occupants are killing civilians and looting. People have been surrounded by enemies and under fire for a long time, and the situation is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. In 2022, in a European country, people are burying their relatives in mass graves. Women give birth under fire in basements, sick people cannot get assistance. According to the UN, since the beginning of the war, Europe has accepted more than 3,3 million refugees from Ukraine (19.03.2022). As psychologists, we have already been dealing with shock reactions, acute stress, grief, problems with adaptation among displaced persons, depression, and other mental health problems. We expect the increase of PTSD cases, suicude, and brain injuries in the near future. Timely professional help is very important to reduce the number of cases of emerging mental disorders and problems in the near future. We consider our project a prevention of potential problems among Ukrainians and an urgent psychological help.
From the first day of war we, the Ukrainian psychologists, have been providing psychological help for our society. In first days we were actively focused on sharing and communicating self-help protocols to prevent panic and high level of anxiety, with special attention to children: how to talk about war, how to support childen of parents who are conscripted, how to prepare a child for a forced relocation, and even what games to play with children in a bomb shelter. We also have launched psychological support for Ukrainians and it is focused mainly on the crisis psychological assistance. This is an online format organized by volunteers who stay in safe conditions and have enough emotional resources for work. It is important, because people are rapidly changing locations due to increased risk to life.
However, this setup has a number of disadvantages.
1. In order to get in touch with a psychologist, a person needs to fill out an online form. This is a challenge for people in emergency situations or for those with insufficient computer literacy.
2. It also prevents them from receiving help immediately, which is of great importance.
3. Volunteering is a great initiative, but the responsible and difficult work of the psychologists must be paid accordingly. Incentive increases the motivation and involvement of the specialist, and is also a factor that prevents emotional burnout syndrome.
In order to make this project of a higher quality, efficient and long-lasting, we plan to :
1. Organize a hotline, which will have a memorizable number and be available directly by phone.
2. The psychologists` work will be paid, they will have clear responsibilities and work in shifts.
3. We are going to organize a free training in trauma therapy and crisis work available to all psychologists in Ukraine, and employ the psychologists who have professional knowledge and experience in crisis counseling and trauma therapy.
Frame and human resources
The hotline will be available 24/7.
Specialists can work on the line remotely. To connect to the line, they can use special software that will be installed on their personal computers (or smartphones). This software will forward all calls to the phone, while they are activated in the program and are on a shift.
There are 4-hour shifts, at least 5 people at a time (the number of specialists per shift can be increased if necessary). There will be 6 shifts per day. The total number of working psychologists is 30 daily. The total pool of psychologists in the project is 50 persons. The number of the psychologists can be extended, if it will be needed.
Employees will be offered the opportunity to participate in supervision groups and intervisions online at least once a week.