Russian invasion youth psychological well being Ukraine


The present Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on 24th February 2022, has created a dire state of affairs for the 6.5 million youngsters that stay there. Over 1,000 youngsters have misplaced their lives, and frequent assaults on the nation’s infrastructure has decreased entry to water, electrical energy, sanitation, and heating (UNICEF, 2022; UNICEF, 2023). An estimated 3.4 million youngsters want pressing humanitarian help (OCHA, 2023).

Sadly, this full-scale invasion is just not the primary battle between Ukraine and Russia. In February 2014, the Ukrainian area of Crimea was annexed by Russia (BBC, 2014), and pro-Russian separatists took over authorities buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk (BBC, 2015). They proclaimed these areas as states impartial from Ukraine. This sequence of occasions concerned armed battle that led to traumatic experiences that civilians, together with youngsters, had been generally uncovered to.

We all know from earlier analysis that a teen’s threat of growing a psychological sickness is elevated when dwelling in conflict circumstances (Charlson et al., 2019). Nonetheless, not many research have used the chance to check two areas in the identical nation, the place one is concerned in armed battle. A research by Osokina and colleagues (2022) was carried out in Ukraine between 2016-2017, over two years after Russia’s 2014 invasion, the place younger folks’s threat of growing psychological sickness was in contrast in Donetsk, a war-affected area, to an unaffected space known as Kirovograd.

The conflict in Ukraine has exposed millions of children to traumatic events that may affect their risk of developing mental illnesses.

The battle in Ukraine has uncovered tens of millions of youngsters to traumatic occasions which will have an effect on their threat of growing psychological sicknesses.


The researchers used a case-control research to research the doubtless elevated threat of psychological well being issues in youngsters inside war-affected areas by evaluating them to youngsters in a area not affected by conflict. They approached faculties in Donetsk, an space of Ukraine that was affected by the Russian invasion, and Kirovograd, an space not impacted. Children in these faculties, who had been aged between 11-17 years outdated, had been then requested to take part within the research which might contain them filling out questionnaires about their psychological well being. These included a survey on demographic data and the variety of traumatic occasions the kid had skilled, the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire, the Affected person Well being Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and Generalized Nervousness Dysfunction-7 (GAD-7). The researchers recruited 1,463 younger folks from faculties in Donetsk and 1,303 had been recruited from Kirovograd. After accumulating the questionnaire outcomes, the researchers carried out statistical analyses to establish whether or not there have been any important variations on scores between the 2 teams. The expectation was to guage whether or not youngsters dwelling in a war-affected area had been extra liable to psychological well being issues in comparison with the area not affected by conflict.


All of the younger folks concerned within the research (carried out in Ukraine between 2016-2017) had skilled at the very least one war-related occasion, although these dwelling within the Donetsk area witnessed considerably extra occasions. For instance, most kids from the Donetsk group (60.2%) had witnessed assaults by armed forces, heavy weapons, artillery hearth, or explosions. This was in comparison with 0.5% of youngsters in Kirovograd. Additionally, when evaluating the demographic data, these within the war-affected area had been extra prone to have a father who was unemployed.

The research discovered, as anticipated, that youngsters within the war-affected area had considerably increased charges of Submit-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction (PTSD), melancholy, and nervousness when in comparison with youngsters within the area not affected by conflict. Kids from Donetsk had been over 4 instances extra prone to undergo from PTSD, over 3 instances as prone to have extreme nervousness, and practically 3 instances as prone to expertise reasonably extreme, or extreme melancholy.

These outcomes observe an analogous development from different research taking a look at psychological well being issues in youngsters inside war-affected areas, although the prevalence charges weren’t as massive as beforehand estimated. The researchers guessed this could be as a result of the research was carried out fairly quickly after the Russian invasion, which implies that it might have been too early to measure the total impression of the conflict on psychological well being.

Children living in war-torn regions in Ukraine appear to be more at risk of developing PTSD, depression, or anxiety.

Kids dwelling in war-torn areas in Ukraine seem like extra liable to growing PTSD, melancholy, or nervousness.


The researchers concluded that dwelling in a war-affected area in Ukraine will increase the chance of being uncovered to traumatic occasions, significantly ones linked to armed battle. This by the way raises the chance of growing psychological well being issues, significantly PTSD, melancholy, and nervousness.

A young person living in a war-affected region has a high risk of experiencing traumatic events, potentially leading to mental health problems.

A youngster dwelling in a war-affected area has a excessive threat of experiencing traumatic occasions, doubtlessly resulting in psychological well being issues.

Strengths and limitations

Having two teams to check towards one another which are each from the identical nation helps to naturally management for a good portion of the potential results of tradition or geographic location on these outcomes. If the researchers as an alternative in contrast the Donetsk group with a peaceable area outdoors of Ukraine, it could be tough to rule out the potential impact of tradition on psychological sickness dangers. It is a nice energy of the research. Secondly, the researchers had been in a position to gather a big pattern of younger folks to participate within the research. This provides us some confidence that the outcomes might be consultant of different war-affected areas.

The research is restricted by the truth that solely youngsters who attended college might be a part of the analysis. Though it’s seemingly most younger folks attend college, there’s nonetheless a number of those that don’t. This group might need distinct traits from those that do attend a college which can imply the outcomes of this research wouldn’t mirror their expertise. Additionally, Osokina and colleagues used a cross-sectional technique, that means that information had been collected at a single cut-off date. This makes it tough to discover any potential causal elements. Future analysis that takes benefit of longitudinal designs could be an enormous profit for studying extra in regards to the impact of conflict on psychological sickness in younger folks.

Future longitudinal studies could explore the causal relationship between experiencing armed conflict and developing a mental health problem.

Future longitudinal research might discover the causal relationship between experiencing armed battle and growing a psychological well being downside.

Implications for apply

It seems seemingly that youngsters from war-affected areas are at a considerably increased threat of growing PTSD, melancholy, or nervousness. Clinicians who work with this inhabitants, due to this fact, want to remember this actuality. Refugees from war-torn areas might require extra pressing assist for his or her psychological well being, and psychological well being employees should be acutely aware of how the character of their trauma interacts with their signs. For instance, younger folks experiencing conflict first-hand might have witnessed the demise of family members, been compelled to struggle towards their will, or needed to evacuate their houses. It will be important these potentialities are thought of when formulating a therapy plan for these youth.

Alongside this, it could be helpful for healthcare employees to pay attention to the cultural variations between the UK and areas the place conflict is a present occasion. Younger folks from these areas might need been uncovered to the stigma surrounding psychological sickness and should require additional sensitivity when supporting them. Younger refugees from war-affected areas may even profit from clinicians and healthcare leaders being conscious of the doubtless increased threat of psychological well being issues. Asylum seekers might profit from well being campaigns that encourage them to hunt assist for his or her psychological well being, in addition to their previous experiences being explored throughout therapy. Furthermore, commissioners ought to do all the pieces they will to make sure that companies have capability to assist folks affected of their areas.

Clinicians should consider whether their young clients have experienced living in an area affected by war before formulating their treatment plan.

Clinicians ought to think about whether or not their younger purchasers have skilled dwelling in an space affected by conflict earlier than formulating their therapy plan.

Assertion of pursuits

The writer has no affiliations to say.


Major paper

Osokina, O., Silwal, S., Bohdanova, T., Hodes, M., Sourander, A., & Skokauskas, N. (2023). Influence of the Russian Invasion on Psychological Well being of Adolescents in Ukraine. Journal of the American Academy of Youngster & Adolescent Psychiatry, 62(3), 335–343.

Different references

BBC (2014). Ukraine: Putin indicators Crimea annexation. BBC Information.

BBC (2015). Ukraine battle: Why is east hit by battle? BBC Information.

Charlson, F., van Ommeren, M., Flaxman, A., Cornett, J., Whiteford, H., & Saxena, S. (2019). New WHO prevalence estimates of psychological issues in battle settings: A scientific overview and meta-analysis. The Lancet, 394(10194), 240–248.

OCHA (2023). Ukraine Humanitarian Response—Key Achievements in 2022.

UNICEF (2022) Ukraine Humanitarian Scenario Report, December 2022. from

UNICEF. (2023). Ukraine (UKR)—Demographics, Well being & Toddler Mortality. UNICEF Information. Retrieved 4 April 2023, from

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