Hope and Healing for Ukraine

Healing Ukraine’s Population-wide Trauma

From the onset of the Russian Federation invasion of Ukraine, we’ve collaborated with Ukrainian psychotherapists, physicians, educators, and community leaders to introduce our model of self-care and group support to those who have been forced into exile, both internal and external, and those who remain.

The ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Whole cities—like Mauripol, Bakhmut, Adviivka and others—have been reduced to rubble, and women, children, and the elderly have suffered from vicious attacks, violence, and torture. Those who have escaped Ukraine and those who remain need a population-wide program of public mental health that will provide immediate and long-term relief from the physical and psychological symptoms of trauma.

We are training and mentoring a critical mass of Ukrainian clinicians, educators, social workers, military, and other community leaders who will integrate our model into their work with the Ukrainian population. We are laying the foundation for an enduring program to address and prevent the consequences of trauma—anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, immune disorders, substance abuse, disrupted relationships, and workplace dysfunction—and to build resilience.

Initial Emergency Response

In our initial response to the enormous need for mental health support in Ukraine, we modified our customary emergency response to account for the challenges presented by working in an active warzone. Thanks to the support of our community’s donations to the Emergent Fund and the Gordon and Llura Gund Foundation, we were able to condense our typical two-stage, 10-day intensive training program into sequential emergency training seminars and bring this much-needed work to those in crisis.

In June 2022, CMBM presented the first of these two-day online emergency seminars for a group of 270 trainees. These seminars combined large group instruction in the science of mind-body medicine with practical experience of tools and techniques in supportive small groups. Demand for this training was much higher than anticipated, and an additional 450 participants joined our waiting list.

These emergency seminars were attended primarily by psychotherapists and physicians, as well as educators and other community leaders. Participants benefited from the opportunity to find relief from the primary trauma of war and the secondary trauma of working with bereaved and severely traumatized people.

Hope and Healing for Ukraine

In April 2023, through a grant funded by USAID, we began our collaboration with Pact to scale our response to ongoing trauma in Ukraine. We designed and facilitated an intensive trauma relief program for Ukrainian clinicians, physicians, educators, community leaders, and others serving their communities, and laid the foundation for a comprehensive and sustainable mental health and psychosocial support program.

In May 2023, we held introductory workshops in Ukraine for over 300 community leaders, educators, students, healthcare providers, and others. Training participants were identified and recruited from eight regions, including Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Odessa, Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, and Chernihiv.

From these workshops, in July 2023, we selected 150 candidates to participate in our in-person Professional and Advanced Training Programs in Ternopil. An astonishing 137 participants successfully completed the training sequence, while living in and participating from active warzones, a testament to the transformative power of this work. To support Ukraine’s youth population through this period of conflict, we organized a virtual Children and Teens Workshop in September, where another 56 trainees learned how to teach mind-body skills to youth.

Beginning in September 2023, graduates of the July training programs began creating and facilitating Mind-Body Skills Groups in their communities. They met weekly with members of the Supervision Team. In November of that year, a team of Faculty, Staff, and Supervisors traveled to Ukraine, where they provided additional, in-person support to nearly 100 facilitators in Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk.


Throughout the program, training program participants submitted pre- and post-training evaluations that measured a number of different variables. These included evaluations on depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, which were measured using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Depression and stress scores were both in the mild range before the training and anxiety scores were in the moderate range. After training and at three-month follow-up, these symptoms were all reported in the normal range. Participants also reported improved sleep after trainings.

Participants also found the program helpful in dealing with trauma, and felt better equipped to teach mind-body skills to others. They maintained lower levels of burnout and stress three months after the training.

Those who received mind-body medicine training proceeded to facilitate MBSGs in their communities. Ukrainian MBSG participants self-reported an improvement in their depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. They reported feeling more hopeful, and less sleep-related impairment. Ukrainian facilitators also reported an improvement in their youth MBSG participants’ trauma symptoms and school performance. Facilitators also believed that youth MBSG participants were better equipped to self-regulate their emotions and were more communicative and open in their personal relationships.

  • 138 professionals have completed our Professional and Advanced Training Programs in Mind-Body Medicine
  • 96 individuals have completed facilitating at least one 8-week group
  • 116 8-week Mind-Body Skills Groups have been facilitated by trained participants
  • Nearly 3,000 children and adults have been served in MBSGs and workshops


Participants in our Hope and Healing for Ukraine program represent and/or currently reside in the above Ukrainian oblasts.

Looking Forward

The conflict in Ukraine is entering its third year, and the need for this work is growing. We are committed to extending our partnership with Pact to create a population-wide trauma healing program. This program will be sustained and scaled by Ukrainian Advanced Training Program graduates, equipped with the skills they need to spread mind-body medicine for years to come.

We also seek new opportunities to partner with organizations operating in Ukraine, including those in the Clinton Global Initiative’s Ukraine Action Network.


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Hope and Healing for Ukraine

The Center for Mind-Body Medicine is working with Pact, through a grant funded by USAID,…