Press release

Medair launches mental health interventions in Ukraine and Poland

Lausanne, Switzerland, 21 March 2022

21 March 2022

Lucy Bamforth


As the escalation of conflict in Ukraine continues into its third week, humanitarian organisation Medair is launching Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) interventions in Poland and Ukraine to support families affected by conflict.

‘This is a rapidly changing context. People are being forced to flee their homes, be separated from loved ones, and undertake long and potentially dangerous journeys to escape violence. This is having a huge impact on people’s mental health,’ says Riët Kroeze, Medair’s Senior Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Advisor. ‘Providing psychological support right at the start of a crisis can help people process some of what they have experienced and help reduce stress symptoms. This supports a healthy recovery after a traumatic event.’

Mental health support has been identified by the World Health Organization as a critical need for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

In Poland, Medair will provide Psychological First Aid (PFA) training and supervision to community volunteers who are working in refugee reception centres. Medair will also conduct awareness sessions for mental wellbeing and establish referral pathways for protection services and specialised mental health support.

In Ukraine, Medair will provide online staff care to mental health professionals, and provide remote capacity building trainings sessions on the provision of trauma-sensitive support in acute crisis situations.

Medair is partnering with two organisations, Arq International and Sounds of Change, to help provide these services.

‘Both Ukraine and Poland have functioning psychological support systems, however they are being overwhelmed as mental health needs continue to grow,’ says Kroeze. ‘By working with our partners to provide specialised training and support, we will be able to continue supporting the mental health needs of the targeted population without undermining or duplicating services that are already available.’

In addition to providing mental health support, Medair is supporting humanitarian supply chains in Poland and Ukraine and border reception centres for refugees entering Poland.

At the time of writing, more than three million people had fled the conflict in Ukraine to neighbouring countries; of those, Poland has taken in around 1.8 million refugees since 24 February 2022. Inside Ukraine, around 1.9 million people are displaced, and an estimated 12 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.


Staff in Poland (English, Dutch, French) and Switzerland (French, German) are available for comment. Media enquiries should be directed to the following people:

In Poland:

Sue O’Connor, Head of Branding and Communications (English):
Mobile: +41 789 327 532
WhatsApp: +41 779 084 003


In Switzerland:

Jean-Bernard Palthey, Engagement Director (English, French)

Daniela Dönges, Press Officer (English, German)


All figures provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Medair is an international humanitarian NGO that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.