Mental health and psychosocial support


Psychosocial support (PSS) is one of the strategic branches of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS), which has been implemented since 2014. With the beginning of the armed conflict in Ukraine, the need in psychosocial support for the population has increased significantly, because people face such crisis events that it is impossible to be prepared for.  

Many people have lost their relatives, housing, they were separated from their loved ones or were forced to leave their homes, were under shelling or temporary occupation. All these things have a significant impact on people who have suffered, and cause distress with further possibility to lead to problems with mental and physical health.   

What does URCS do to implement psychosocial support for people?

Since the February 2022, due to the escalation of the armed conflict, the number of categories of people in need for support has dramatically increased. Currently staff and volunteers of URCS in different regions of Ukraine are working to provide support to: 

  • elderly people 
  • people with disabilities
  • families in the sophisticated life conditions (have lost their loved ones, experienced health damage, were left without property, were forced to leave their homes, etc.)
  • large families 
  • demobilized servicemen and members of their families 
  • national minorities  
  • other groups of population 

Also, we pay particular attention to children, whose mental health needs special treatment. 

Since February 24, 2022:

people in Ukraine received Psychosocial support or Psychological first aid
people participated in PSS activities
activities were held to support both beneficiaries and staff and volunteers
children received support during participation in the PSS activities
people received support during the evacuation, delivery of humanitarian aid, in places of transit, and during social activities
volunteers and staff members participated in the PFA and MHPSS trainings

Currently, psychosocial support is provided in the following regional organizations of the URCS: 

  • Ivano-Frankivsk region,
  • Zakarpattia region,
  • Chernivtsi region,
  • Lviv region,
  • Ternopil region,
  • Khmelnytskyi region,
  • Vinnytsia region,
  • Zaporizhzhia region,
  • Poltava region,
  • Kharkiv region,
  • Mykolaiv region,
  • Odesa region,
  • Dnipropetrovsk region,
  • Kirovohrad region,
  • Volyn region,
  • Rivne region,
  • Sumy region,
  • Chernihiv region,
  • Zhytomyr region,
  • Kyiv region and Kyiv city 

In order to support population since the beginning of the armed conflict, the URCS has been providing psychological first aid, basic psychosocial support both in places of displacement and in new places of residence of people who were forced to leave their homes. In addition, the volunteers of the URCS provide psychosocial support to people in the places of humanitarian aid distribution, where crowds of people are. For children and adults volunteers and staff of the URCS carry out measures, aimed to support – these are activities with elements of creativity, recreational activities and active games, structured activities to increase emotional resilience, and psychoeducational activities for adults. 

Choose a direction among PSS activities you are interested in to know more information:

Psychosocial support is provided both to groups and individuals. For groups, events are held in the format of support groups, activities with elements of creativity, family events, activities for children, active games, psycho-educational sessions, events aimed to build social cohesion, etc. These activities have purpose to increase the resilience of individuals, families and communities, reduce level of stress, relieve emotional stress and teach how to take care of yourself and your family. Individual PSS is provided to people during visits of volunteers to their homes, as well as during telephone conversations. 

Training in psychological first aid (PFA) at the Ukrainian Red Cross Society began in 2019. For 3 years of activity of the direction, more than 50 qualified instructors and trainers in PFA were trained, who conduct training all over the country. Until 2020, only volunteers and staff of the URCS were able to undergo the training. But recently, training demand among the population has increased (most of all among the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, who lived at the demarcation line at that time), trainings are held for different categories of the population. In particular, for staff of the National Police of Ukraine, SESU, local authorities. The request for PFA trainings has significantly increased since the beginning of the escalation of the armed conflict in February 2022. In 2022, during webinars, online trainings and distribution of video materials about psychological first aid, more than 16,000 people were reached.

The deployment of the armed conflict in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the active development of the providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) component and teaching the population to conduct PFA, as a response to the significantly increased level of stress and anxiety experienced by the population of Ukraine in an unstable situation that is constantly changing. 


гаряча лінія Товариства
Червоного Хреста України
(пн – пт, 9:00 – 18:00)

0 800 332 656



Діяльність з психосоціальної підтримки Червоного Хреста України базується на


Common questions about psychosocial support

Psychosocial support is actions aimed to meet both the psychological and social needs of individuals, families, and communities. These are also actions aimed to alleviate suffering of people in difficult situations and restore their psychosocial well-being. 

Situation in Ukraine, since 2013, is beyond the usual normal human experience. It caused significant violation of human daily life, affected health of population, resulted in great loss of lives, property and so on.  

These crisis situations increase stress levels of people, but in long-term perspective may have significant social and psychological consequences for the whole families and communities. Psychosocial support is to unlock the inner potential of a person and community, help to develop stress coping mechanisms and increase resilience towards it. Psychosocial support, provided qualitatively and on time, may help to renew after crisis events much faster and minimizes the risk of serious psychological problems. 

Understanding the importance of psychosocial and mental health needs was formed relatively recently. This topic has become increasingly relevant since the end of the last century. 

As a result, since 1991, the International Federation began the implementation of the Program of psychological support, and in 1993 the Methodical Center for psychosocial support was created, which has the best specialists from around the world and provides the National Societies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (including the URCS) help to establish psychosocial support services for communities affected by crisis events. 

No. Psychosocial support is needed for people who can not cope with stress by their own, being in difficult life situations, due to the impact of crisis events. However, events can be attended by people who may become more vulnerable in the future. 

Psychological first aid is a set of skills and knowledge that can be used to help people in a state of distress. This is a way to help people feel calm, the ability to cope with a difficult situation and make reasonable decisions. PFA involves taking care of people experiencing distress, paying attention to their reactions, the ability to listen and, if necessary, provide practical assistance in solving problems. Most often, PFA is used during or immediately after crisis events, including personal ones – the loss of a loved one, illness, etc. 

To find out what activities, aimed to provide psychosocial support, are held in your region or district, contact the nearest organization of the URCS in your city. Also, you can email the or call the 0 800 332 656 number to get information about the locations where the events are held, since psychosocial support events are not held in all organizations of the URCS. 

In areas, where psychosocial support activities are carried out, events for the elderly are held. It can be interest groups, activities with the elements of creativity and other measures, depending on the region. To find out more about the activities of psychosocial support direction in your city, contact the nearest organization of the URCS. 

Yes, in areas, where psychosocial support is provided, regular activities are carried out, aimed to ensure the psychosocial well-being and protection of children. Events take place both in the premises of the organizations of the URCS, and in schools/kindergartens and other institutions, where children spend time for a certain period of time. 

You can order Psychological First Aid training or activities/informational sessions for staff self-care for your company/organization by massaging on the e-mail: 

Currently, to become a PFA/PSS instructor, you need: 

  1. Be a volunteer or staff of the Red Cross Society of Ukraine  
  2. Undergo the appropriate training at the URCS, trainings: “Basic psychosocial support,” “Psychological First Aid,” “Psychological First Aid for children.” 
  3. Pass the appropriate training to equip instructors of the URCS in PFA/PSS. 
  4. Based on the results of the training, receive recommendations on the possibility of conducting trainings as an instructor and signing the PFA/PSS instructor agreement with the regional/local organization of the URCS. 
  5. With the contract signed, conduct training on PFA/PSS according to the approved methodology. 
  6. How to become a volunteer of the PSS direction? 

If you want to join the volunteer movement of the Red Cross in the direction of psychosocial support, contact the nearest organization of the URCS in your city. In case this organization does not have PSS activities, email with a request for volunteering and a note about the city of your residence. We will help you to choose which organization to join or maybe you will have a desire to develop and lead the PSS direction in your area.