Psychosocial rehabilitation of war victims

Self-help group (Support circle) – a technique that provides access to free primary psychosocial assistance to as many war victims as possible, in order to restore vital resources and to build potential for an active role in the life of the community. Participation in a self-help group brings people together and is based on informal face-to-face relationships. By participating in a self-help group, a person learns to perceive oneself, understand one’s own strengths and weaknesses and influence the surrounding reality.

Algorithm of using the technique:

1. Informing the target audience and forming self-help groups;
2. Ensuring the participation of the involved individual in at least 6 meetings of self-help groups within a three-month period;
3. Redirection of the individual to specialized medical workers and/or other specialists whose consultations may be needed;
4. Making a decision regarding the individual’s further participation in the self-help group, determining the possible role of the individual (facilitator’s assistant, leader, facilitator).

Target audience (participants of Support circle):

1. War veterans
2. Family members of soldiers (including those aged 12 and over with parental consent)
3. Internally displaced persons (including those aged 12 and over with parental consent)

Each person who joines a self-help group has their own motivation. The main thing is that group socio-psychological rehabilitation enables different people with different problems to recover, and the circle becomes a resource and a “place of strength”.

Support circle is a warm and sincere meeting in a safe and comfortable space for those who need support today and for those who can provide it.


If you feel that you have the resources to help others and support them, join us.
If you need support and help, join us.
If you know how to listen and consider this an important skill in communication, join us.
If you do not know how to listen and you think that you are not heard, join us.
If you want to feel more confident, join us.
If you (don’t) know how to change your life for the better, join us.
If you have many questions (life, philosophical, psychological, etc.), join us. 

We unite those who are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to solve common (or similar) problems!
During our meetings, you will be able to restore your resources, get psychological support, see your strengths and weaknesses, understand how to influence the surrounding reality and change it in the desired direction.
Meetings will help you deal with your emotions, cope with stress on your own, and help your loved ones get through these difficult times.
And most importantly, to feel that when you help others, you help yourself!


Elizaveta Melnyk, student, facilitator of self-help groups.
Often people do not want to admit that they need support, and the word “psychologist” in general scares many. In fact, a person sometimes needs not so much some kind of professional help, so much as an understanding that you are normal, that there are people nearby, the same as you, that truly there is life nearby, and it does go on.
I learned that support groups are held at our university. They are organized by NGO “Poltava Branch of Public Service of Ukraine” in cooperation with the GURT Resource Center. My peers, students, gathered in these groups. In the circle, we talked a lot about our emotions, feelings that are sometimes difficult to identify even for ourselves. It is often unclear where to go with all this baggage, where to leave it – and the group becomes a place where you can reflect on it. This is such a safe space, where you will be accepted and understood, you can talk about what happened to you, and calm down.
After some time, I suggested that my parents work in such a mini-group, using the same principles as the classic group. I thought: if it’s hard for me, how hard must it be for them! Such work was a real discovery for parents, it helped them to reveal their feelings, and they gained a sense of unity. It’s also just a great way to spend time together, which I and they both missed.
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Oleksii, student
“I didn’t miss a single meeting in our circle… Since the first meeting, I felt that this was what I needed.
Such communication helps me a lot to relieve emotional burdens and forget a little about the not-so-good past. Here it seems to me that I can be myself, without any pretending. Thank you very much for this format. A+!”. IDP, twice evacuated with my family, father’s in the army.
‘For me, the circle of support is, first of all, a safe place. Here I can talk about what I could not admit to myself. This is a place where you can learn to listen to others, find support and sort out your feelings…’

During the year of this activity, we held more than 260 meetings attended by 681 people. These are thousands of stories, these are smiles and, sometimes, tears, these are memories and dreams, this is the desire to give our warmth and to be together… And also, this is the confidence that our circles should continue!
Unfortunately, we currently lack funds to continue the project. So, if what we’re doing together resonates with you, support us, friends!