Elite group of mental health professionals deployed to Ukraine

PsyCorps, a traveling group of mental health professionals who travel the world to support communities affected by disastrous or traumatic events, has been invited to Ukraine by representatives in the United States, local Washington state news source KHQ reported June 8.

Once there, PsyCorps members will train community volunteers, educators and medical personnel in mental health first aid and traumatology.

"We found that training people from the community is much more effective than having people come from the outside who don't really know the culture," PsyCorps member John Thoburn, MD, PhD, told KHQ on June 8. "If you're a medical doctor and you're fixing a bone, it doesn't matter what language you speak. But if you're doing mental health work, it's better to speak the same language and come from the same culture. And that's why we train these locals to offer mental health support to friends and family."

According to Dr. Thoburn, 10 percent of those who go through a disaster or traumatic event develop post-traumatic stress disorder, and in war-torn areas, the likelihood goes up to nearly 25 percent, making specialized PTSD treatment vital.

"When you think about a traumatic event, like a war, you think first about providing food, water, lodging, and that's absolutely necessary," Dr. Thoburn told KHQ. "Then you think about medical aid, which again is necessary. But we think that mental health is as important."

To contribute to PsyCorps' Ukraine mission, click here.

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