Academic Conference “A Community of Practice for Psychosocial Interventions”

On March 28-29, an academic conference “A Community of Practice for Psychosocial Interventions” was held in Kyiv. The event brought together nearly 100 mental health professionals who have been trained in mhGAP, Self-Help Plus, Mind and Body Medicine, and the CETA programs offered by USAID PHS R&R over the past year.

Certain mental health and psychosocial support programs (MHPSS) can be implemented by various professionals: doctors and primary care nurses, psychologists, social workers, or active community members. All of these programs, however, are evidence-based and share a common goal: maximizing the number of practitioners who can provide qualified psychosocial assistance to residents of their communities.

During the two-day conference in Kyiv, the project brought together practitioners from the eight regions of Ukraine which have most actively started putting MHPSS services into practice. Specialists had the opportunity to exchange contacts and stories about their successful experiences, engage in professional communication in person, learn about the principles and approaches of the psychosocial interventions implemented by their colleagues, and acquire new knowledge and skills by practicing in groups.

In particular, during the conference, the participants discussed new topics such as:

  • “The Invisible Traumas of War” – the Specificities of Approaches to Working with Servicemen and Veterans (Tetiana Sirenko, Deputy Director of the Lisova Polyana Center for Veterans’ Mental Health and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine)
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches in the Work of Frontline Specialists (Pavlo Horbenko, Words Help NGO)
  • The Specificities of Eating Disorders in Children and Youth (Veronika Sіlenok, Family Circle Center for Health and Development)
  • A Trauma-Informed Approach as a Basic Approach (Khrystyna Kolesnyk, PHS R&R)
  • The Impact of War on the Psychological Well-Being of Children (Ihor Martsenkovsky, Head of the Department of Mental Disorders in Children and Adolescents, Institute of Forensic Psychiatry, Ministry of Health of Ukraine)
  • Helping People with Substance Use Issues in Wartime (Hela Kalandia, Head of the Outpatient Department of the Sociotherapy Kyiv City Narcological Hospital)

We thank the guest speakers for sharing their invaluable experience and the specialists for discussing their practical cases at panel discussions!

We thank the PHS R&R regional coordinators for inspiring their colleagues and becoming real agents of change in the field of mental health in Ukraine!

We thank the conference participants for the hard work that they do every day in their territorial communities. It is the cornerstone of a new sustainable public health system that is evidence-based, flexible, empathetic, and focused on the needs of every member of society!

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