INARA’s Rapid Response Program in Ukraine: Addressing Challenges and Raising Awareness

INARA’s Rapid Response Program was created to respond to crisis and emergencies, just like the war we are witnessing in Ukraine. At INARA, we know how war and conflicts can impact a child’s well-being and safety, and how much it can affect their mental health. After a needs assessment, carried out by Arwa Damon herself to discover the gaps we needed to fill in Ukraine, INARA has launched a program to provide consultations and training specific to mental health professionals, social workers, and others who are directly working with children on the ground.

As part of our Ukraine mental health program, we successfully carried out a pilot training session in partnership with Caritas Moldova, providing teachers, social workers and any volunteers in contact with children at their four centers with tools, information, and training they need, to help support these children and facilitate their integration into the society they have been welcomed in. After discussions with the centers and their feedback on their specific needs, the sessions were tailored to address the challenges they were facing with their beneficiaries.

The program and sessions are developed and specified as needed by our team of in-house Child and Adolescent mental health experts, led by Dr. Wael Shamseddine. Dr. Wael is a well-known psychiatrist specialized in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as Psychopharmacology, who is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the US namely the University of Michigan Health-Ann Arbor and is also a faculty member at the department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the director of their Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training Program.

This program’s primary focus is to and provide basic mental health training to any professionals, teachers, social workers, or volunteers working with Ukrainian children. We are collaborating and working closely with our partner organizations on the ground ensuring the information they need is well received and is tailored to their needs. We are also providing them with the necessary materials they need to carry out their mission.

Additionally, INARA’s team of mental health professionals developed guidance manual for parents and primary health givers which you can find here in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

As the war unfolds, we will continue to look for more gaps and will constantly be evolving and adapting to fill them and support these children’s needs through this newly developed and flexible program.