During her visit to the State of Israel, First Lady Olena Zelenska met in Tel Aviv with First Lady Michal Herzog and President of Israel Isaac Herzog. The conversation was devoted to humanitarian issues, including assistance to children affected by the war and the problem of treating post-traumatic conditions.
The wife of the Head of State spoke about Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and the situation in the flood zone as a result of the occupiers' blasting of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.
"We regard the Russian Federation's blowing up of this dam as a premeditated military and environmental crime against Ukraine's critical infrastructure, aimed at causing as many casualties and destruction among the civilian population as possible. The blowing up of the Kakhovka dam is an environmental and technological terrorist attack, the largest man-made disaster in Europe in recent decades," the First Lady of Ukraine said.
Olena Zelenska emphasized the urgent need to eliminate the environmental and man-made consequences of Russian aggression.
The first ladies discussed the details of continuing cooperation in creating the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program. Within its framework, under the patronage of Michal Herzog, Ukrainian specialists are trained by Israeli colleagues to provide psychological assistance.
"About 15 million Ukrainians will need psychological support and assistance. It is impossible to overcome this challenge with the existing resources and skills of psychiatrists and psychologists alone. That is why one of the priorities of the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program is to provide large-scale training for first-line contact specialists in self-help and first psychological aid, and for specialized staff in working with special categories: people with amputations, survivors of violence, captivity and torture. Israeli organizations have become reliable partners in this area," the President's wife said.
She noted, in particular, the following results of the joint work:
- The Israeli NATAL Trauma and Resiliency Center held six open, free webinars that were attended by more than 2,000 Ukrainian professionals. The topics covered included how to recover from traumatic events, first emotional aid in emergency situations, working with PTSD, working with survivors of sexual violence during the war, and the specifics of working with amputees.
- The Israel Trauma Coalition's self-help and first aid skills in crisis situations have been taught to about 3,000 specialists from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, education and social assistance sectors, Ukrzaliznytsia, Ukrposhta, Oschadbank, and critical infrastructure enterprises. The Israel Trauma Coalition's course for employment center specialists has recently been completed, with 56 instructors trained; by the end of the year, the new skills will be shared with 3,000 career counselors.
- 57 Ukrainian specialists attended 94 hours of training sessions from Israeli specialists, representatives of the international non-governmental humanitarian organization IsraAID (Psychosocial Support in Time of War project). The project aims to integrate specialists into healthcare facilities to help people undergoing long-term treatment, as well as medical staff. In January 2023, the specialists began working in hospitals in Dnipro, Vinnytsia and Kyiv Oblast (14 institutions in total).
- The Business Without Barriers community sent 130 instructors to learn first psychological aid skills in crisis situations from Israel Trauma Coalition experts. As of now, these instructors have shared their knowledge with 10,000 employees.
"I am very pleased to host my good friend, the wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska. In this room, we see the cooperation of many organizations that work for the benefit of those who suffer from the effects of trauma and want to share and pass on their knowledge to others. Unfortunately, the State of Israel has extensive experience in wars and the fight against terrorism, and we as a country want to share our knowledge with you and help Ukrainian citizens who need it," Michal Herzog said.
In addition, Olena Zelenska, together with Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Oksana Zholnovych, met with representatives of NATAL and the Israeli Trauma Coalition and thanked them for cooperation.
"You train our specialists, who carry this knowledge further to cover the entire country with the mental support program. We want psychological assistance to become as ubiquitous as medical care," said the wife of the President of Ukraine.
Together with the First Lady of Israel, Olena Zelenska also visited Sheba Medical Center, Israel's leading medical center, and its children's department, Safra Children's Hospital, which provides specialized psychological assistance to children.
"Israel has a unique experience: your country knows how to live and develop fully in the face of constant enemy attacks. You are our example of resilience," the First Lady of Ukraine emphasized.