Empowering Ukrainian Armed Forces

The Project Trauma Support Initiative: Empowering Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Psychiatrists and Psychologists in Kyiv – A Look Back

Project Trauma Support recently hosted a transformative two-day lecture series at the Humanitarian Institute of the National Defense University of Ukraine named after Ivan Chernyakhovsky. This pivotal event was tailored for psychiatrists and psychologists within the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces, facilitated by our esteemed founder and medical director, Dr. Manuela Joannou, a distinguished Canadian emergency medicine expert with a profound commitment to addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Manuela Joannou shared her insights, reflecting on her extensive three-decade medical journey, with over seven years dedicated to the specialized treatment and rehabilitation of individuals grappling with PTSD. Her focused efforts have predominantly supported Canadian servicemen involved in peacekeeping missions, including those in Afghanistan, as well as police officers and firefighters, benefiting over 800 individuals through our program.

The lecture series began with a poignant moment of silence, honoring the lives lost to the Russian Federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine. Dr. Joannou expressed her deep honor in having addressed the valiant individuals defending their homeland, stating,

“My heart was with you, understanding the adversity you faced. All of Canada stood with you, wishing you safety and health.”

Professor Colonel Vasyl Osodlo, the institute’s head, warmly welcomed Dr. Joannou, acknowledging the exceptional relevance of the course’s subject matter, especially in light of the brutal nature of the unprovoked war initiated by the Russian Federation.

This educational endeavor aimed to foster a comprehensive understanding and effective management of combat mental traumas, stress disorders, and their severest form—post-traumatic symptomatology. It targeted institute students responsible for the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s moral-psychological support and military medicine representatives. This initiative offered an unparalleled opportunity to merge new insights with existing experience, harmonize practices, and enhance mutual empowerment through diverse interaction methodologies. Dr. Joannou’s course was designed to significantly benefit all participants, facilitating the practical application of acquired knowledge.

Emphasizing an interactive educational approach, Dr. Joannou encouraged active engagement from the students, fostering a dynamic learning environment where discussions, inquiries, and shared experiences enriched the educational process.

“Endorsed by the Canadian Medical Association, the curriculum I presented was devised to bolster the participants’ confidence and competence in treating servicemen afflicted with PTSD or moral injuries,” explained Dr. Joannou to the attendees.

The curriculum, introduced by Dr. Joannou, comprised six meticulously crafted modules addressing PTSD, moral and institutional injuries, their interconnections, and strategies for managing depression, anxiety, dissociation, suicidal tendencies, and early intervention techniques. The final modules focused on enhancing resilience to PTSD and moral injuries and tackling compassion fatigue and burnout among healthcare providers and psychologists.

This initiative was organized in collaboration with the All-Ukrainian Interconfessional Religious Christian-Military Brotherhood, underscoring our commitment to addressing the psychological impacts of combat and trauma. Serhiy Lysenko, the Brotherhood’s president, highlighted the ongoing efforts since 2014 to support military and law enforcement personnel through specialized psychological and psychiatric training, drawing on international expertise.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants were accredited with a certificate from Project Trauma Support, marking their enhanced capability to support those affected by traumatic stress. In alignment with our ongoing mission, a similar training program was extended to the healthcare system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, further broadening the impact of our initiatives.

This collaboration embodied our dedication to advancing the mental health and well-being of those on the front lines, reinforcing our global commitment to trauma recovery and support, and reflecting on this event, we remain committed to our mission of providing continued support and education in the field of trauma care.

Source: armyinform.com.ua
Source: https://armyinform.com.ua/2023/06/12/kanadskyj-proyekt-pidtrymka-travmy-u-kyyevi-navchayut-psyhiatriv-ta-psyhologiv-zsu/
Photos: Volodymyr Polishchuk, ArmyInform correspondent