Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska is advocating for the importance of mental health during war.
In a new interview with Robin Roberts for “Good Morning America“, the wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke candidly on the effects the war launched by Russia has had on her people.
With the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on the horizon on June 4, she noted how at least 243 children have been killed after Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year.
“Unfortunately, this year we will be marking this event,” Zelenska said, recounting a story of two boys who witnessed the death of their mother. “We need to help people to live that through. We need to help people psychologically, mentally, in whatever ways possible.”
In order to provide support to those suffering from PTSD and trauma endured during the war with Russia, the Ukrainian architect and screenwriter is introducing a national mental health program for victims of war.
“The medical institutions and medical system as we have it right now, it might simply be not enough to cover all the needs,” she explained. “That’s why we need to be prepared.”
One of the added difficulties will be identifying those who need help from the program who may have difficulty recognizing it.
“Even the parents, they might not recognize that their child is having a problem, is having some sort of PTSD,” she added.
The 44-year-old expressed how thankful she was for the “enormous support” her country has received from across the globe.
“It’s really important, because you feel you’re not alone,” she said.
One such act of support was U.S. First Lady Jill Biden’s visit to Ukraine last month.
“I finally managed to see her face-to-face, and it was a tremendously courageous action that she has made,” Zelenska said. “She came to the country which is at war, and the people of Ukraine, they highly appreciated that.”
In a final message, she asked people to “not get used to this war.”
“Otherwise, we are risking a never-ending war and this is not something we would like to have,” said Zelenska. “Don’t get used to our pain.”