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Ivano Frankivsk, Ukraine – From June 21st to June 23rd, The Right to Protection’s MHPSS Program, with the support of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), organized a three-day offline forum aimed at sharing experiences among practitioners involved in psychological humanitarian response during wartime. The event provided a friendly space for reflection and an opportunity to appropriate the experiences gained during the challenging period of a 1.5-year full-scale invasion.

The event gathered 25 psychological services working tirelessly during the war, allowing participants to engage in facilitated sessions and find answers through dialogue. The focus was on collecting the experiences of these services, highlighting superior practices and addressing the most common topics encountered. The forum provided a platform to discuss the trends and dynamics of psychological service provision 1.5 years after the full-scale invasion, as well as the latest news from the field and the often unseen difficulties faced by service providers.

Participating experts included professional associations, representatives from international humanitarian organizations, NGOs, charitable foundations, psychologists, psychiatrists, military psychologists, and professionals working with veterans, military families, adults, children, and adolescents.

Anna Shiychuk, the coordinator of the MHPSS Program of the Right to Protection, emphasized the value of the discussion process in her reflections on the event. She stated, “In my opinion, the discussion process is even more valuable than the conclusions we reach. After all, this is a place where you can reflect on your work and find points of feedback in the words of other colleagues.”

The event aimed to enhance communication between services, facilitate the exchange of experiences in different areas of psychological services, and foster collaboration among a wide range of experts. The goal was to capitalize on the uniqueness of Ukrainian specialists’ experiences as mental health service providers in overcoming the consequences of one of the largest wars of our time.

Following the forum’s conclusion, the R2P’s psychologists made a meeting to present the main tendencies, trends, developments, and vectors of development discussed during the event. This meeting gave an opportunity to share the valuable insights gained and chart a path forward in addressing the mental health challenges caused by the ongoing war.

The offline event organized by the Right to Protection and IRC served as an important platform for professionals to share their experiences, learn from one another, and strengthen their collective efforts in providing much-needed psychological assistance to individuals affected by the devastating consequences of war.