Mother and father playing a game with young boy
Mental Health – May 21 2020

Families starting to recover face new challenges with coronavirus

Young parents Olga and Denys were a middle-class family before fighting broke out in Eastern Ukraine. But once the war started, they found themselves moving again and again, with their young son, Ihor, trying to find a safe place for their small family.

Eventually, the family settled in Brovary, a small city outside Kyiv. A chance encounter led them to SOS Children's Villages, and a programme aimed at helping to improve the lives of at-risk families called Happy Childhood. In 2019, the Happy Childhood programme helped 232 children from 110 families who had one or more risks such as low-income, addictions, traumas, internally displaced, and so on.

The family immediately got help: psychological counselling for all three, plus development classes for Ihor.

"I needed to talk,” says Olga. “I relived all the moments of hardship. After each session I felt better.”

The psychological counselling helped Ihor, now seven years old, find emotional stability. He did not remember the bombs, but his parents' stress affected his mental wellbeing. Through child-focused psychological counselling, the aggressive boy transformed into a calm child.

Olga and Denys had started to feel settled and at home, and they had since had another baby, Andriy. Their plan was to save money and buy their own flat.

But, like many families, Denys lost his job because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the family's only income comes from monthly benefits which barely cover rent and utilities. This additional stress causes the trauma they have lived through to come back to the surface.

SOS is supporting families like Olga and Denys’s around the world, supporting them to get the everyday essentials they need as well as long-term support to rebuild their lives. Please help us reach as many families in crisis around the world as we can.

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