Mental Health Support for Ukrainian Refugees
Our work is, in brief, to distribute the iFightDepression tool for Ukrainian displaced persons. It is an internet-based self-management programme for individuals experiencing milder forms of depression. It is free of charge and is intended to help individuals to self-manage their symptoms of depression and to promote recovery. The tool is used with the support of a trained guiding health professional, ‘guided’ meaning that it is used with support from a general practitioner or mental health professional. If you are a healthcare professional and are interested in implementing the tool within your practice, please email email@example.com for more information. We also invite all interested parties who would like to discuss cooperation to contact our consortium. To contact us, please use the form in English (https://ifightdepression.com/en/contact), Ukrainian (https://ifightdepression.com/ua/kontakti) or Russian (https://ifightdepression.com/ru/kontakt).
The consortium is funded by European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) within the #EU4Health program for two-year project MESUR - Mental Health Support for Ukrainian Refugees. Partners from six countries aim at improving mental health and psychological wellbeing of Ukraine’s displaced people.
- EAAD: European Alliance Against Depression is an international non-profit organisation based in Germany. EAAD’s international partner network spans 20 countries, including many in Europe but also Chile, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. EAAD is considered a major player in international community-based suicide prevention efforts, due to the scientifically proven impact of its globally implemented 4-level concept. The EAAD affiliated entity is (1.1) DF: Stiftung Deutsche Depressionshilfe und Suizidpraevention (German Depression Foundation) which was founded with the goal to improve the situation of people suffering from depression. Intensive public relations and educational work is carried out and assistance is offered to those affected and their relatives in Germany. Under the umbrella of the DF, more than 80 regional, community-based alliances against depression and self-help platforms have been launched nationwide.
- VEA: Végeken Egészséglélektani Alapítvány (Végeken Mental Health Foundation) was established to help and support the mental health research and activities in Hungary. Its main expertise is in managing the activities in the field of research in mental health, surveys, organizing conferences, and other activities of knowledge transfer. VEA maintains the telephone helpline services for health care and social care workers.
- APS: Akademia Pedagogiki Specjalnej Im. Marii Grzegorzewskiej (Maria Grzegorzewska University) is a public university with a 100-year tradition, working with professionals who in their academic and expert work address issues related to digital public life, community conversations, health promotion, human rights, and social dialogue in Poland.
- ERSI: Eesti-Rootsi Vaimse Tervise Ja Suitsidoloogia Instituut (Estonian-Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute) has specific expertise in the field of mental health, wellbeing, and suicidal behaviours. ERSI contributes to capacity building and policy making by integrating outcomes of evidence-based research into the area of public mental health practice in Estonia.
- EPAPSY: Etaireia Perifereiakis Anaptyxis Kai Psychikis Ygeias Somateio (The Association for Regional Development and Mental Healthcare) is an NGO established in the field of mental health, funded and supervised by the Hellenic ministry of health. EPAPSY provides a model of comprehensive mental healthcare to the communities in Greece.
- SPOC: Sdruzhenie za Progresivna i Otovorena Komunikaciya (The Association 'Sustainability of Progressive and Open Communication') is situated in Sofia, Bulgaria. It has more than 10 years of experience focused on sustainable development work with accents in psychophysical and psychosocial community resilience and development, mental healthcare promotion and advocacy.
- USF: Sihtasutus Ukraina Sojapogenike Psuhhosotsiaalse Krijsiabi Fond (The Psychosocial Crisis Assistance Fund for Ukrainian War Refugees) provides practical assistance and develops new services for Ukrainian war refugees in Estonia. They include childcare centre for children, training of support counsellors for displaced persons, a central point of information for assistance and digital initiatives designed to support displaced persons.
Our work takes place between the beginning of December 2022 and the end of November 2024. It is divided into 5 work packages. All partners contribute to all work packages.
Work Package 1: Project Management and Coordination. Apart from working with each of the six implementation countries, WP1 will establish a Refugee Advisory Group with one representative from each of the six MESUR countries. This Group will provide a consultative mechanism, through which feedback on the toolkits, content, cultural adaptation and implementation can be sought.
Work Package 2: Communication and Dissemination. WP2 is a cross-cutting work package that will build on the extensive networks of all consortium partners in order to share information with reception points, clinics offering psychological care to refugees from Ukraine and organizations working with displaced persons. Key stakeholders will be identified among international organizations and UN agencies such as WHO, UNHCR, IOM, institutions crucial at the national level and organisations working closely with the Ukrainian diaspora in the partnering countries.
Work Package 3: iFightDepression® Content – tailored for displaced people. The content of the iFightDepression® suite is reviewed, adapted and up-scaled as an intervention for displaced people from Ukraine with depression. To ensure user-involvement and to uncover needs of the target users, focus groups are conducted with refugees from Ukraine and with experts from the field of refugee. Before the implementation, the content of the training material will be updated and adapted to target at guides working with displaced persons, linked to the additions to the tool.
Work Package 4: Translation and Cultural Adaptation. The translations are reviewed first from a medical perspective (by a psychiatrist) and then native speakers review the wording in order to culturally fit the needs of the target group.
Work Package 5: Implementation and Transfer. For each implementation country, a situational analysis is conducted, identifying (a) the regions/cities where displaced persons from Ukraine are located, (b) the systems (crisis response, health care, international and local networks) that are supporting the displaced persons and (c) potential iFightDepression® guides. To support sustainability of the implementation that occurs within MESUR, and to expand the impact for future use of iFightDepression®, the Best Practice Guideline will provide an outline of the stepped approach to implementation, noting common barriers and facilitators (drawing on the process evaluation of MESUR).
Knowledge generation, and sharing, and capacity building are needed to improve mental health and psychological wellbeing in migrants and refugee populations, with a special focus on Ukraine’s displaced people due to Ukraine conflict, via the implementation of best practice and guidance.
The MESUR Project has the following general objectives:
The intervention delivered in MESUR builds on the iFightDepression® suite, comprising the iFightDepression® tool (iFD-tool), iFightDepression® guide training (iFD-guide training), and the iFightDepression® webpage (iFD-webpage).
These digital health applications will be tailored, complemented (special content relevant for refugees), translated (in Ukrainian and Russian languages), implemented, and promoted in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Estonia, and Germany.
(Mental Health Support for Ukrainian Refugees) project has received funding from the European Union under grant agreement No. 101101460. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them. The iFightDepression® tool and the website are coordinated and disseminated by the European Alliance Against Depression (www.eaad.net). Both products are results of the EU-funded research project PREDI-NU (Preventing Depression and Improving Awareness through Networking in the EU) which was coordinated by Prof. Ulrich Hegerl (Germany) in cooperation with Prof. Ella Arensman (Ireland) from September 2011 to August 2014.