For a little over a week, we have been bombarded with information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A war in Europe… The stories of the victims of this violence, the images, the videos, remind us that security and peace are fragile and are never definitively acquired. Many remember the old anxieties of the Cold War and the worst moments of Soviet domination in the Eastern countries. The stories of our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents who described the horrors of the Second World War and which we thought were part of a bygone era now seem to be part of a possible reality.
As an association representing hundreds of professionals working with traumatized individuals in over thirty European countries, we are very concerned about the reality of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. The violence of the fighting seems to increase day by day, residential areas are being bombed, and many civilians are exposed. Many people will die, and many people will develop post-traumatic disorders. Individuals, families, and civil society as a whole will be deeply impacted and will take years to recover from the war.
We are also very concerned about the mental health of these (very) young Russian soldiers sent to the front. They are not prepared to face the horrors in which they participate. Some are already dead, some will die... and some will never recover.
In general, we strongly condemn the use of force to compel individuals or entire populations to adhere to a system, ideology, culture, or nation. We are convinced that the different nations that populate the European continent can live in peace and prosper provided that the specificities of each are respected and that communication and exchanges between the European individuals are maintained and encouraged. We therefore urge our leaders to maintain communication, negotiate and work tirelessly to find solutions for peace.
We also believe that this war is a final ersatz of the dissociation that Europe underwent at the end of the war with the installation of the Iron Curtain between East and West. The current conflict resembles a tragic last kick of a nostalgic old man belonging to a past and bygone world who is trying to settle his accounts before taking his leave. We believe that the vast majority of European citizens, in the East and West, do not want a war, nor the restoration of an Iron Curtain. As a European association, we support the vision of a united Europe, where the countries of the East and West will be able to determine themselves while cooperating on projects and a common destiny.
We wholeheartedly hope for a speedy resolution of this conflict and make ourselves available to any colleagues, in any country in Europe, who may need resources to communicate useful information or to follow up on the many victims of the war.
Raphael Gazon, Clinical Psychologist, president of the ESTD
Claire Harrisson-Breed, Child and Adult Psychotherapist
Dr Desiree Tijdink, Psychiatrist, M.D.
Maria Paola Boldrini, Clinical Psychologist
Dr Ellen K. K. Jepsen, Psychiatrist, MD, PhD
Prof. Igor Pietkiewicz Ph.D.
Dr Anca Sabau, Psychiatrist, M.D.
Suzana Guedes, Clinical Psychologist, PhD
Lise Møller, Clinical Psychologist, PhD