March 12, 2022
The World Federation for Mental Health is gravely concerned about the war in Ukraine, the loss of life and the reports of attacks on schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, civilian casualties, and violation of human rights. We are mindful of the vote of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) condemning the invasion of Ukraine, and fully support it. We wish to reiterate the 2016 Athens Anti-War Declaration which states that, “War is the worst of human-made disasters and has tragic and unacceptable consequences on the mental health of its victims.” The consequences of war on the mental health of people, including Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, is going to impact the lives of Ukrainians and all those involved for generations to come, and we call for immediate action for cessation of all violence and hostilities.
The World Federation for Mental Health was set up in 1948 in the aftermath of the Second World War seeking to promote a common humanity, which is not possible without world peace. The World Federation for Mental Health therefore appeals to the Russian Federation and others to stop all military activities and end hostilities in Ukraine as this threatens human lives and health, including mental health of people living in Ukraine, their families, as well as soldiers and others affected by this war.
The World Federation for Mental Health urges global citizens to respond to people displaced by this crisis and to help and support them in this time of need. We must protect and promote the dignity of people who are displaced, allow then unhindered passage to safety and humanitarian assistance, provide food, housing, healthcare and mental health services, and ensure they know they belong to a common humanity, because from humanity comes strength.
We also urge all parties to ensure that persons in vulnerable situations, as well as those with mental health problems, disabilities or other illnesses, are provided due protection and care.
The adverse consequences of this conflict and humanitarian crisis will be felt for a long time, and we therefore appeal to the United Nations, World Health Organisation and other stakeholders to come together to provide the psychosocial support necessary to refugees to help manage and heal their psychological wounds. The World Federation for Mental Health asks those around the world to join in this mission.
No matter what the issue war is not the answer, and we must make universal peace and common humanity a global priority.
Submitted on Behalf of the WFMH Board of Directors.
Dr Nasser Loza
Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro MBE JP