COLLEGE STATION, Texas — It's been over a year since Russia invaded Ukraine, and now a mental health crisis could unfold, according to a distinguished Texas A&M University professor who has been studying trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder for the last 35 years.
"People are people and suffering is suffering," Texas A&M Department Head of Psychiatry, Israel Liberzon said. "If anyone thinks that trauma is far away, they just have to think about what happened in Uvalde and other places. We need to be able to provide care to people."
After writing a proposal to the National Institute of Health, the program received a $1.4 million grant to travel to Ukraine to identify, recruit, and train psychiatrists and psychologists that specialize in trauma care.
"Everybody that we talked to was excited by the opportunity to help. It's very different," Liberzon said. "When I started treating PTSD patients most of them were Vietnam veterans, and people did not have much appreciation for their suffering."
The professor says they will provide support for the entire five years the grant spans, even if the war ends before the grant period does. Their plan is to train 100 Ukrainians so that they can provide the best possible care to hundreds of thousands who have become traumatized from a drastic shift in their way of live due to the war.
"Traumas are part of life; even when war stops, there are other reasons for trauma. The same thing like in the United States," Liberzon said. "Training people in good trauma care doesn't end when the military operation stops."
Doctor Liberzon and his colleagues will travel to the eastern European nation each year and bring Ukrainian specialists to Texas for a nearly two-month long focused training.
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