The stress of war. Recommendations for the protection of mental health and wellbeing for both Ukrainian refugees as well as Poles supporting them.
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Akademia Pedagogiki Specjalnej im. Marii Grzegorzewskiej
Department of Psychosocial Science, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Submission date: 2022-09-13
Final revision date: 2022-10-28
Acceptance date: 2022-10-29
Online publication date: 2023-08-31
Publication date: 2023-08-31
Corresponding author
Lidia Zabłocka-Żytka   

Akademia Pedagogiki Specjalnej im. Marii Grzegorzewskiej
Psychiatr Pol 2023;57(4):729-746
The presence of large numbers of Ukrainians looking for refuge in Poland is a new experience for Poles. The ongoing war and the uncertainty of the situation of those displaced may cause anxiety and lead to stressful reactions, exacerbated by endlessly circulating information on hostilities. Therefore, the sense of security may be threatened not only among Ukrainians who have fled to Poland, but also among people who support Ukrainians, who offer them help and shelter. Prolonged support, if not accompanied by proper selfcare can increase the risk of burnout as well as lead to distressful emotional states, such as a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, reluctance to provide further help, or even demonstrate hostility. The article presents the situation and current psychosocial needs of Ukrainian refugees in Poland and provides a set of recommendations regarding the organization of mental health care in the face of the ongoing war in Ukraine. There are available tools to use by Polish specialists and lay helpers to support Ukrainian refugees. The Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Intervention Pyramid, developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, is used to classify suggested interventions. Appropriate care should be available to both refugees as well as the host population involved in their care.
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