New York, 10 October 2022 (TDI): United Nations Development Program (UNDP), on World Mental Health Day shared an inspirational story of Irina, a Ukrainian refugee in Moldova.
She is assisting other refugees in overcoming the effects of war psychologically. Irina said that “During this crisis period, it is very important to be active, to not get depressed”.
Irina’s Life as a Refugee
The young woman, who recently received her Master’s in Psychology from a university in Kharkiv, starts her story in this manner. She intended to start her career in Odessa. However, it was not to be. The war began.
She added, “I saw my future in Odessa. But on 24 February, I woke to the sound of explosions and quickly realized that my dream was over.
The future was uncertain. I read the news all day. I called my parents who live in the Lugansk region. I spent the night in a bomb shelter. The last drop was when a missile fell in a residential area”.
Furthermore, Irina had no idea what to do or where she would live when she arrived in Moldova. She was able to contact Everyone Contributes for Change (FCPS), a UNDP and Sweden-backed NGO with offices in Criuleni, some 50 kilometers from Chisinau, thanks to a volunteer at the border.
Irina was given free lodging at the house of a member of the organization’s staff. Along with some food and daily necessities, she also received legal and psychological treatment.
Finding work as a beginning psychologist with no local clients would be challenging. But she was aware that it was vital to keep one’s thoughts occupied during trying times.
That’s why she made the decision to use her professional network and volunteer for the group that gave her a helping hand.
Irina said that “It is very important to be active, to avoid depression. I gladly accepted the opportunity to counsel other refugees, as I thought that was how I could earn a living and get rid of my sad thoughts”.
The main goals of World Mental Health Day are to organize support for mental health and increase awareness of global mental health challenges.
The Day offers an opportunity for all parties involved in mental health issues to discuss their work and what else needs to be done to ensure that mental health care is available to everyone in the world.