The war in Ukraine is having a devastating impact on children's mental health.
It's been 18 months since the beginning of the conflict, and there is not a single aspect of children’s lives that has not been impacted.
Children have been forced from their homes, missing out on education and denied a safe and secure environment.
Children have hidden underground for an average of 920 hours since the conflict escalated.
The stress of everyday life under bombardment is taking a heavy toll.
When children are exposed to prolonged and overwhelming levels of stress without the necessary support and protection, it can cause toxic stress.
This can result in detrimental, long-lasting effects on their physical, emotional and cognitive development.
We're supporting children during this conflict through our mental health programs.
Here are some of the ways we’re helping children cope:
- Using art, dance and therapy to relieve stress, helping children express their feelings.
- Providing education programs, including Digital Learning Centers, so children can continue learning.
- Running Child Friendly Spaces where children can heal through our play-based programs.
Continue scrolling or click the menu at the top to learn how we're serving the children of Ukraine.
Healing Through the Arts
"Because of the art center, I’m no longer afraid to meet others."
Iryna*, 11, lives with her mother in Poltava, Ukraine after fleeing their hometown shortly after the conflict began.
Iryna takes drawing classes provided by a Save the Children-supported club and attends art therapy workshops, which help children like her process their difficult experiences.
At first, Iryna was nervous about attending drawing classes because she didn’t know anyone else.
But she made friends quickly and has now discovered a passion for drawing.
In Ukraine, we're working with local partners to offer art therapy programs like this one.
Art therapy has proven to help children with trauma express their emotions, build confidence and process their experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
Connecting in Digital Learning Centers
"I have such a cool school...we learn a lot, play games and program robots."
Maks*, 7, and his family fled Ukraine soon after the conflict escalated and now live in Poland.
He frequently goes to the public library of his town where Save the Children’s partner, FRSI, runs a Digital Learning Center.
Maks enjoys going to the Center as it gives him a chance to play, make friends and learn.
He especially loves learning how to program robots and Polish language classes.
In Poland, our Digital Learning Centers help children continue their education.
Digital Learning Centers are safe spaces in which children can go to learn, play and receive language support.
Children can also receive mental health and psychosocial support from licensed professionals.
Critical education programs like these provide the structure children need to cope, learn and connect with their peers.
Safety in Child Friendly Spaces
We met Larissa* in Frankfurt, Germany at one of our Child Friendly Spaces.
Since February 2022, more than one million people have fled from Ukraine to Germany and around 35% of those people are children.
During this crisis, we're setting up Child Friendly Spaces where children, like Larissa, can come together to play, learn, form friendships and receive psychosocial support from our staff.
In Germany, we're setting up Child Friendly Spaces where children can come to learn, play and heal.
We work with local governments and organizations to set up Child Friendly Spaces where needed.
Whether it's puzzles, crafts or dancing, through interaction with peers and support of our trained staff, children can relieve stress and begin to process their experiences.
Our Commitment to the Children of Ukraine
We know that a child who gets the mental health support they need can start their journey to recovery. And a child who goes to school can connect with others, making the most of the joy, development and learning that education provides.
That's why we'll work as long as it takes for children to recover and rebuild their lives during this conflict.
Give to the Children's Emergency Fund
The Children's Emergency Fund powers our work before,
during and after emergencies strike, not only in Ukraine but around the world.
Give today to ensure families around the world receive the support they need when they need it.
*names changed to protect privacy