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Ukraine’s culture ministry explores how art helps cope with trauma amid war

The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy is collaborating with the World Health Organization to investigate how the government can use art to support the recovery and reintegration of individuals who have experienced trauma due to war.
Ukraine’s acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy Rostyslav Karandieiev and Christopher Bailey, head of the World Health Organization's "Art and Health Protection"
Ukraine’s acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy Rostyslav Karandieiev and Christopher Bailey, head of the World Health Organization’s “Art and Health Protection” Source: Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture
Ukraine’s culture ministry explores how art helps cope with trauma amid war

Ukraine’s acting Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Rostyslav Karandieiev, met with Christopher Bailey, head of the World Health Organization’s “Art and Health Protection” department, to discuss how culture can help Ukrainian society cope with the consequences of traumatic events experienced during the war.

According to the 2024 Gradus Research survey, 77% of Ukrainians have recently experienced stress or severe nervousness, with the main causes being a full-scale war with Russia (72%), followed by financial difficulties (41%) and the socio-political situation in the country (38%).

Karandieiev recognized the need for artistic practices to contribute to solving problems related to mental health, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy.

“During the war, we felt a great need for artistic practices in solving problems related to mental health, and art plays a big role here. This applies to our war veterans, people who have lost loved ones, and all citizens in general,” he said.

Christopher Bailey is a founder of the Healing Arts Initiative, which studies the impact of art on health and unites scientists worldwide.

During his visit to Ukraine, Bailey discussed how the government can use art to help with the recovery and reintegration of people who have experienced trauma.

“The social component is very important in recovering from transgenerational trauma. These are challenges that many countries face, and it is necessary to direct a lot of artistic activities into the field of recovery,” said Bailey. 

Karandieiev also told him about different programs and initiatives focused on mental health in Ukraine. One of them, called How Are You?, was initiated by First Lady Olena Zelenska. It encourages Ukrainians to prioritize their mental well-being and provides tools to help individuals assess and manage their inner state.

A project, Libraries as a Space for Psychosocial Support, created by Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, focuses on engaging libraries in providing psychological assistance to Ukrainians.

The World Health Organization’s “Art and Health” program assists countries in understanding how art can be used to improve people’s health and provides evidence to help governments make better decisions and policies related to health care.

 

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