'Fear, agitation, and meltdowns' reported among Ukrainian soldiers
A NATO spokesperson says the military alliance has put in place assistance to enhance the psychological resilience of Ukrainian troops.
The Daily Beast reported on Friday that the Ukrainian government has launched a NATO-backed mental health program in order to boost the effectiveness of its troops in battle and make them less vulnerable to post-traumatic stress.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu told The Beast that the military alliance "has put in place assistance to enhance the psychological resilience of military service personnel and develop a mental health system for Ukrainian combatants and veterans."
According to the news website, the program is supposed to counter the "fear, agitation, and meltdowns" troubling the Ukrainian soldiers, so they can continue fighting, as Ukraine "can’t afford to have soldiers falling apart on the battlefield."
Military Psychologist Rodion Grigoryan, who runs the program, told The Beast that "people have had no understanding of the mental state they could get into during combat."
On his part, Neil Greenberg, a professor at King’s College London who helped implement a similar program for the UK military and trained Ukrainian fighters, told The Beast that unaddressed mental health problems can "degrade your capacity to keep on fighting," highlighting that "things are horrible out there," referring to the Ukraine war.
"Artillery and drones and unpredictable, non-defensible attacks are much more psychologically difficult, because you could be the best soldier in the world, but if an artillery shell lands somewhere near you, there's nothing you can do about that," Greenberg explained.
According to the professor, the biggest challenge facing Ukrainian troops is that they are "not flying into a war zone during the battle and then coming home to normality."
The Daily Beast said the Ukrainian Defense Ministry hopes to rotate forces on the front lines once the fighting slows in winter. In this regard, Aditi Nerurkar, a doctor with expertise in stress and resilience, told the news website that the idea will be greatly needed in order to release some of the pressure of constant warfare.
"It’s been ten months. There is no respite. We need that respite," Nerurkar indicated.
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