KIND’s Mental Health Support to Children Impacted by the War in Ukraine

May 23, 2024

The blog is in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.  


According to the United Nations, nearly 2,000 children have been killed in the war in Ukraine, and millions of children remain—displaced, creating one of the world’s largest refugee crises. To inform parents and caregivers about how the mental health of children may be impacted by the war, KIND partner PoMA Global created a series of educational videos as part of KIND’s work to support children displaced by the war.   

The four short films help parents and caregivers understand the psychological impact of the war in Ukraine on children. The goal of the videos is to help parents and caregivers understand the effects of trauma and prolonged stress on a child’s brain and well-being, the common symptoms exhibited by children, and what caregivers can do to support children experiencing trauma. The videos were informed by Ukrainian psychologists and refugees and feature Ukrainian actors. 

Sylwia Katarzyna Brzezinska, a KIND staff attorney based in Lublin, Poland, near the Ukrainian border, has helped distribute the video to local governments in places where there are high numbers of Ukrainian refugees and to nongovernmental organizations that work with the Ukrainian community.  

Sylwia, an expert on working with children, explained that these videos are critical because parents and caregivers are not always aware of the issues their children are having: 

Children exposed to war often suffer in silence and do not talk to anybody about how they are feeling. It is common for children to pretend everything is ok when they are not ok, and they do not speak with anyone about how they feel and what is wrong. Parents and caregivers might think children are ok, when in fact they feel sad, overwhelmed, frightened, alone, and confused. Children displaced from the war can exhibit behavioral issues, and the videos help parents and caregivers identify these issues as signs of stress. 

By showing what the war in Ukraine looks like from a child’s perspective and how it impacts their daily lives, the films provide tools and guidance for both children and caregivers helping to manage trauma and stress in a health way.  KIND’s partner who created the videos, PoMA Global, stated:  

We have been circulating the videos within our networks to raise awareness of the different ways trauma can manifest, and how parents and caregivers can best support their child. We have found these videos to be a helpful way to showing parents and caregivers, both those displaced and within Ukraine, different ways trauma can manifest in children, and ways they might support their children through this.  

Sylwia added, “Every parent and caregiver of children displaced from the war in Ukraine should see these films because it shows a different side of war, through the eyes of a child.”  

To learn more about KIND’s work in Europe, click here.