Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) to Ukrainian children and adolescents to self-manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 – The first 7 months

Background: The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 prompted many to provide mental health input, especially trauma management, to Ukrainian children and adolescents (C/A) exposed to it.


Methods: Rapid cascade training of 200 Ukrainian psychologists during 2022 to provide, in pairs, free of charge and without selection, TRT courses of 4–6, 90 min sessions online or face to face to C/A 7 to 23 years in Ukraine and those migrating abroad. CRIES–8 PTSD questionnaires were administered at the beginning and end of the courses during May–December 2022. Age, gender, their geographical war risk, and whether C/A had stayed or migrated elsewhere were collected. A CRIES-8 score of ≥17/40 defined likely PTSD.


Results: 3123 C/A completed an initial CRIES-8 questionnaire with matching demographics, 2737 a questionnaire at the end and 1798 both. At entry to TRT, likely PTSD was greater in females (65 %) than males (52 %, p < 0.001) declining with increasing age, particularly in males (p <0.001). Migration had mixed effects and moving to lower war risk areas or abroad did not reduce PTSD risk. TRT benefited 68 % of C/A overall by reducing CRIES-8 from ≥17 to <17, the rate increasing the more experienced the TRT facilitators became (p <0.0001). Online and face to face outcomes were the same.


Limitations: The chaos of war prevented capture of all potential C/A questionnaires and long-term repeat testing not yet undertaken. Conclusions: Even in the chaos of war, effective mental health input can be rapidly and cheaply (c.50 USD/child) provided and should be encouraged.  

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Kateryna Yavna, Yanina Sinelnichenko, Tetyana Zhuravel, William Yule, Mark Rosenthal | 2024
In: Journal of Affective Disorders ; ISSN: 0165-0327 | 351 | 243-249
Adolescents, Children, Effectiveness, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Recovery, Ukraine, War