Mental Health in the Time of War: Challenges and Strategies

March 2023
As the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine continue to pose new challenges, discussions around modern tobacco control tools have resurfaced. The effectiveness of smoking cessation programs and advertising in conditions of stress and psychological upheaval due to the war has become a topic of concern. To address this, a round table was organized by the NGO Healthy Initiatives on March 23-24 in Prague, where participants from various countries shared their opinions on promoting smoking cessation programs in the context of mental health, with a focus on Ukraine.

The round table saw the participation of scientists, economic experts, global health advocates, and mental health specialists from the US, UK, France, Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. Natalia Toropova, the head of Healthy Initiatives, presented the results of a survey on the prevalence of smoking in Ukraine and the status of smoking cessation programs and their efficacy. The study showed a regression in tobacco control, with the war serving as a catalyst for increased smoking among all sections of the population, including the military.

The UN predicts 15 million Ukrainians (out of 42 million before the war) will require professional psychological assistance after Ukraine's victory over Russia. However one should not wait until the war is over. It is crucial to start acting now when the addiction conditions like smoking combustible cigarettes is on the rise.

The two-day discussion resulted in the development of a framework for future collaboration between various organizations and experts to promote smoking cessation in connection with mental health.

Made on