Mental health support and working with communities affected by full-scale war through culture

One of the main goals of the “Culture Helps / Культура допомагає” project is mental health support for cultural managers who work with the topic of integration people who have been forced to move to safer regions of Ukraine or abroad due to the full-scale war.

As part of the mental health support programme for 2023-2025, we are implementing:

200 individual grants of up to €1,000 for professionals in the cultural sector who primarily work on a volunteer basis with displaced people who have been forced to relocate due to the war.

The grants are aimed at supporting the mental health and well-being of practitioners in the cultural and creative sectors in Ukraine and Creative Europe countries. Four individual grant competitions have already been held, supporting 101 cultural managers who received financial support for psychotherapy sessions, retreat trips to health resorts, and more.

 

A webinar programme developed by the program’s partner, the psychological agency Psikultura. The webinars aim to normalise the perception of taking care of mental health and to provide effective self-support tools.

In March-April 2024, four online meetings were held. These meetings resulted in the publication of webinar summaries and workbooks with practical exercises for participants, as well as for anyone in need of mental health support who has the opportunity to work on this independently:

 

  1. How to Take Care of Your Mental Health: Basic Concepts and Skills” — what is important to know about mental health, “red flags” of your condition, and simple and important things that can help today. The workbook and meeting summary are available via the links. 
  2. Finding Support Within Yourself: How to Learn Self-Support Amid Life’s Challenges” — what unpleasant feelings convey to us and why, how to recognise the inner saboteur, how to cope with difficult feelings, and how to develop a supportive attitude toward oneself. The workbook and meeting summary.
  3. What is Art Therapy and How Does It Work” — general info about this approach and its variations, what actually happens during an art therapy session, and how to support yourself during wartime using art therapy. The workbook and meeting summary.
  4. What You Need to Know About Art Therapy When Using It in Your Work” — the possibilities of art therapy, how our brain works during traumatic events, how art can help, and the challenges during wartime. The workbook and meeting summary.

A webinar course on mental health and resilience for participants of the collaboration grants programme within “Culture Helps / Культура допомагає”, who work on the integration of displaced people into new communities and overcoming war trauma through cultural projects and activities.

During  February-April 2024, we conducted a course of 6 webinars to raise awareness among representatives of the Ukrainian cultural and creative sectors about mental health, providing training and sharing practical skills and tools for self-support during the war:

  1. Strategies for maintaining mental health & prevention of crises with the psychologist Anastasia Medko, on how to consciously understand crisis situations and what self-regulation techniques are available in crisis situations.
  2. Sleep & mental health with scientist Olga Maslova, about the connection between sleep and the biological clock, a healthy sleep protocol and recommendations for sleep hygiene during war.
  3. Art of communication with crisis communications coach Valeria Polska, about the importance of listening and speaking skills, why conflicts arise and how to resolve them easily.
  4. Work-life balance / war-life balance with psychologist Maryna Didenko, on how to balance during the war and find resources for post-traumatic growth.
  5. Depression & coping strategies with psychologist and psychotherapist Volodymyr Stancyshyn, about the emotional swings of war and how to respond to them. 
  6. Resilience & safe space with positive psychology expert Larysa Bobrova, about the concepts of resilience and stress resistance, and methods of turning negative thoughts into resourceful ones.

     

Based on these webinars, we plan to create a practical Toolkit with adapted educational and facilitation materials for self-help. Over the coming months, the webinars and the toolkit will be published for open access on our website.

If you want to help us make the Culture Helps’ mental health support programme in the cultural sector better and more effective, please take a short survey about your mental health state. This will help us have a broader sample and consider more aspects when planning the next open calls. All data and the information you provide will remain completely confidential.

“Culture Helps / Культура допомагає” is a project co-funded by the European Union under a dedicated call for proposals to support Ukrainian displaced people and the Ukrainian Cultural and Creative Sectors. The project is a cooperation between Insha Osvita (UA) and zusa (DE).

Contact:

Nataliia Martynenko

Project coordinator Culture Helps
martynenko@zusaculture.org

Keywords:

mental health
resilience
time off
safer space