Healing the Trauma of War in Ukraine

Press Release

The International Association for Human Values scales-up trauma relief workshops with additional dates for those affected by the Ukraine war. More than 5000 Ukrainians have already benefited from these free workshops.

Brussels / Warsaw, 23 February 2023 – With one year of killing, destruction and displacement going on in Ukraine, the war has not only created a humanitarian crisis with people witnessing the worst possible, losing their homes, loved ones and fleeing for their lives.  Moreover, the war has left a heavy mental burden of post-traumatic stress disorders, emotional pain, anxiety, sleeping disorders and other mental conditions on Ukrainians.

To help Ukrainians heal the emotional wounds of the war and strengthen their resilience, the UN-accredited NGO International Association for Human Values (IAHV) offers additional dates for their proven trauma-relief and empowerment workshops.

“Our free workshops are a combination of time-tested simple techniques and are just 4,5 hours over 3 days. Once learnt, the techniques can be practiced daily to build up resilience,” says Dr. Katrien Hertog, Director Trauma-Relief and Peace building Programs, IAHV. People from Ukraine can register for weekly online workshops or for in-person workshops on our webpage https://pmsh.iahv-peace.org 

The workshops are conducted by specially trained IAHV trainers as part of the ‘Peace of Mind and Strength of Heart’ project in cooperation with the Art of Living Foundation and Fundacja Understanding, and with the support of the European Union.

Since the first week of the war, IAHV has conducted 200+ trauma relief workshops for more than 5,000 people from Ukraine located in more than 20 countries.

In addition to refugees, also staff and volunteers who have been supporting Ukrainians during this one year can participate in professional care workshops to prevent burn-out, manage stress and increase their resilience. There are also special programs developed for kids and teenagers.

“IAHV programs, based on breathing techniques, are very accessible for everyone. They produce significant results which have been researched in 100+ scientific studies, including rapid and significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, depression and anxiety, and improved quality of life. The workshops empower people to improve their own wellbeing without becoming dependent on medicine or therapy” – adds Dr. Katrien Hertog.

The trauma relief workshop participants note an improvement in sleep, calmness in the mind, increased energy, reduced physical pains, increased hope and more inner strength. This helps them to overcome the effects of war but also challenges of displacement, adapt in a new environment, deal with the constant flow of news and worries, deal with uncertainty, learn new languages and focus on the future. 

IAHV has successfully implemented large-scale trauma relief and psychosocial support programs in peacekeeping missions with partners including the United Nations, the European Union and the Red Cross, and its approach has been researched and implemented in Harvard, Yale and Stanford universities, among others. IAHV workshops have long been held in refugee camps in Europe and the Middle East, prisons around the world, for vulnerable communities in South Africa, for health workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, for Afghans after the Taliban takeover, in Lebanon after the explosion in Beirut, in Iraq since 2003, after terrorist attacks, natural disasters (floods in Indonesia, earthquakes in Turkey, fires in Australia and Portugal).

About the International Association for Human Values

The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) is a non-profit organization affiliated with the United Nations with consultative status at ECOSOC (UN). Founded in 1997 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other global humanitarian leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, its mission is to build a sustainable and inclusive peace by promoting the development of universal values in both individuals and societies on a global scale.

IAHV is one of the pioneer organizations worldwide that implements an integrated psychosocial approach to peace building, effectively transforming wellbeing, thinking and behavior. It works with individuals and communities on all sides of conflict, those who have suffered from or have been involved in violence.

Reviews of HRE workshop participants from Ukraine:

It’s not easy to leave your whole life behind… now I do these practices every day, I feel calmer, I even sleep.”

“We had so much stress and worry, a lot to figure out. This seminar helped us feel at peace.” 

“I am very tired. Now my body feels different, especially my mind, I’m more relaxed.”

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