Ukrainian credit union staff receive mental health support through Woccu project

Most of those taking part assessed the impact of war on their physical and psychological state as high

Seventy-eight employees from Ukrainian credit unions participated in online meetings with a professional psychologist as part of an initiative led by World Council of Credit Unions’ Credit for Agriculture Producers (CAP) Project, a USAID-funded activity.

Participants included some credit union professionals from occupied areas of Ukraine, who learned about various techniques for restoring the psychological balance disrupted by the war. The psychologist explained how the lack of relevant experience can lead to the wrong assessment of person’s condition, roots of their problems and emotions, as well as ways to address them.

“I have been meeting some friends and relatives and helping them evacuate abroad,” an attendee said during the meeting. “The situation of people being separated, of what they experienced in the east [of Ukraine], made very heavy and painful impressions – feelings of rage and inability to change the situation at the same time.”

A post-event survey revealed that more than a half of participants were not directly experienced living in a conflict zone or occupied region, or had lost property. However, 55% of the respondents assessed the impact of war on their physical and psychological state as high, evaluating their need for further individual or group psychological support as seven out of a possible 10.

The psychologist told attendees she would be available for confidential one-on-one sessions.

According to Woccu, the questions asked by attendees during the event proved the relevance of the topic and the great need for professional psychological support among credit union employees and CAP Project employees who were able to attend the event as well.

The CAP Project began in 2016 as a four-year project to strengthen the credit union sector in Ukraine and improve the quality of the financial services and products offered to farmers and agribusinesses in rural areas in the country. Implemented by WOCCU, the project was extended through March 2023 after securing additional funding from the USAID, which backed the project from its inception.