As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, its impact on military personnel and their families cannot be underestimated.
The losses associated with deployment, separation and the stress of combat can create a significant emotional and psychological burden for military families. Recognizing this, different Ukrainian initiatives have become a beacon of support and empowerment, particularly those focused on providing psychological assistance. Through their various initiatives, they try to help and provide support to those who need it most. In this special material, we would like to tell you more about why families of servicepersons need psychological support and how they are helped.
The Civic Movement for Empowering Women in Ukraine community-based organization (shortened: NGO Women’s Power) was established in 2014 with a clear mission: to provide the necessary psychological assistance and support to the families of military personnel. Such families often face emotional problems that can arise from prolonged separation, uncertainty, and the psychological effects of military service. The organization recognized the urgent need to address these issues and help alleviate the psychological burden faced by military families.
Currently, the organization specializes in improving the system of psychosocial support for military families in Ukraine and conducting psychological support activities for spouses and children of military personnel.
In March 2022, NGO Women’s Power organization created the «Military Families Social and Psychological Support Service» project, which operates with the support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Department of Humanitarian Support of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, and the National Guard of Ukraine.
«Our team is convinced that supporting military families is one of the ways to protect the state. After all, every soldier who is currently defending Ukraine with arms is primarily protecting his family and loved ones. Our efforts are aimed at ensuring that each and every one of them feels supported when they contact us. In this way, we express our gratitude to the defenders of Ukraine and honor them and their families», a statement reads on the official website of the project.
The Military Families Social and Psychological Support Service project works in three areas: hotline, support groups for wives, mothers, and children of servicemen, and individual consultations. The organization runs support groups for spouses and relatives of servicepersons. In these groups, you can get experienced professional support and group meetings with people who have found themselves in similar circumstances free of charge.
Communication in individual counseling with a specialist and in a group helps to stabilize the emotional state, gain self-support skills, develop the ability to support loved ones and restore social skills. Also psychological support groups for relatives of servicepersons with whom contact has been lost and groups for children are provided together with the Institute of Health Psychology.
In response to a request from the Main Directorate for Moral and Psychological Support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the community-based organization created the Military Families Social and Psychological Support Service.
«Several million civilians have been forced to become members of military families since February 24, 2022. These are women and children who, in addition to living under rocket fire or being forced to leave their homes, are also in constant anxiety about the military defending the country. And timely psychosocial support can reduce the risk of psychological trauma in these conditions. That is why every effort should be made to provide timely psychological assistance to military families. Our work is a part of these efforts», emphasized Nataliia Umerenkova, director of the NGO Women’s Power in a comment for weareukraine.info.
Nataliia Umerenkova, founder of the Civic Movement for Empowering Women in Ukraine, claims that family support is a huge component of the defense capability of military units at the front. Sometimes, she says, men themselves advise their wives and children to call the support line for help, as they realize how difficult it can be to wait for a loved one from the front, Nataliia told KUST media.
«Military families are the closest social environment for support and recovery. That is why we must do everything possible to help build family resilience while waiting for their loved ones to return from the front», says Nataliia Umerenkova, founder of NGO Women’s Power.