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10 Oct. 2023

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World Mental Health Day: how to preserve children's own and mental health during the war

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World Mental Health Day: how to preserve children's own and mental health during the war

Mental Health Day is celebrated globally and in Ukraine every year on October 10. In today's context, many people face challenges related to war and conflict, which can significantly undermine their mental well-being. Find out what tips you should follow to maintain your own health and the health of your children in such circumstances

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According to the WHO, mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables everyone to fulfill their own potential, overcome the normal stresses of life, and work productively. Every year, World Mental Health Day reminds us of the importance of taking care of our mental health and the mental health of our children. However, in times of war, when stress and anxiety become an integral part of everyday life, this becomes an especially urgent task.


We will tell you how to maintain your own health and the health of your children in times of war and provide useful tips.


World Mental Health Day 


Ukraine began celebrating World Mental Health Day in 1992 to combat the spread of various mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, drug addiction, epilepsy, and mental retardation.


According to statistics, about 1.2 million people in Ukraine suffer from mental disorders, and this number is growing every year. The increase in morbidity is caused by stress, which has become an integral part of modern life. Many people try to overcome stress, not paying attention to the fact that it is important not only to deal with it, but also to avoid its occurrence.


Modern life itself contributes to stress: political, economic, and workplace changes, as well as everyday experiences, such as public transportation, can lead people to become accustomed to stress and, ultimately, even face depression.


Mental health is an important aspect of overall well-being, as physical health is impossible without mental health. And neuropsychiatric disorders can lead to disability.


Mental health - why is it important?


A psychologically healthy person is, first of all, a person who is spontaneous and creative, has a joyful attitude and often demonstrates cheerfulness, is open to learning about himself or herself and the world not only with the mind but also with his or her own feelings and intuition. An important factor in preserving and maintaining mental health is adherence to the principles of a healthy lifestyle.


A special role in this is played by psychohygiene, which includes a set of measures aimed at preserving the culture of interpersonal relations, the ability to control one's emotions, to balance time between work and leisure, and to create a favorable psychological atmosphere in the team and family. It also includes systematic physical activity, a healthy diet, sleep patterns, and positive thinking, as well as the desire to be optimistic and friendly.


Mental health largely depends on the individual's own efforts and relationships with his or her loved ones. The main goal for a modern person is to take care of their mental balance, be prepared to manage stressful situations and, if necessary, seek professional help, rather than ignore the symptoms of overstrain, depression or emotional instability.




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How to maintain your own mental health?


Maintaining mental health in wartime is challenging, but not impossible. It is important to remember that mental health is a valuable resource that needs to be treated with care.


Stay calm and reasonable


It is important to remain calm and reasonable in any situation. Help yourself and your family stay calm by isolating yourself from unnecessary information. For example, turn off your news and social media notifications for a period of time to avoid being overwhelmed by negative information.


Maintain a daily routine


Try to maintain a regular daily routine for yourself and your children. Regular sleep, nutrition, and physical activity help to improve mental health.


Take care of yourself and pay attention to your emotions


It is important to take into account your needs and try to maintain physical and mental health. Regular physical activity, proper nutrition, and rest help to strengthen the immune system and reduce stress levels. It is equally important to monitor and understand your emotions. Keeping a diary in which you record your feelings and thoughts will help.


Seek support


Do not hesitate to seek psychological support if you feel the need. Find it among family and friends, as well as in communities and groups in your area. Talking and doing things together can be an important way to cope with military stress.


Learn relaxation techniques


Learn relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. They can help relieve stress and improve mental health.


How to take care of children's mental health?


Create a safe environment


Take care of your own emotional well-being, as calm parents create a calm environment for their children. Reduce their exposure to violence and horrific news.


Share action plans to keep them alive and healthy in times of war. During this discussion, emphasize the words "safety" and "secure" so that the child has positive associations with these concepts.


Support and open dialog


Maintain an open dialog with children about their emotions and experiences. Make it clear that their emotions are normal reactions to their circumstances. For example, being afraid is a normal reaction because fear is responsible for the instinct for self-preservation and safety. 


Psychological exercises


Try doing psychological exercises with your children, such as the "Safe Place" visualization, which can be found online. You can even draw this safe place with them and feel yourself there.


Emotional state


Be attentive to changes in the emotional state and behavior of children, especially if they have witnessed negative events that traumatize their mental state. If the child has changed, become more active or disobedient, or vice versa, has become withdrawn and worried about his or her health or that of their parents, sleeps poorly, has nightmares, or has problems with eating, it is better to seek help from a qualified specialist.


Entertainment, creativity, and social contacts


Remember that a child should have a childhood despite the war. Try to spend positive time together, offering opportunities for games, creativity, and recreational activities that will help them relax and relieve stress. Also, help keep children in contact with friends and family, even if it is virtual.


We remind you! Sometimes accidents happen, we see people being rescued, and sometimes we need to be rescued ourselves. However, there are many myths related to first aid. Find out what each of us needs to know


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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