“Our strength is in our sensitivity. When we are open to our pain and to the pain of other people, when we are sensitive to our needs, then we can support one another and in this compassion find the strength for healing and renewal.” – Oleh Romanchuk, Director of the UCU Institute of Mental Health, took part in the Third Summit of Ladies and Gentlemen of Europe. The theme of the meeting was: “Mental Health: The Fragility and Resilience of the Future.”
Oleh Romanchuk, Director of the UCU Institute of Mental Health. Photo: Facebook page of Olena Zelenska
Oleh Romanchuk spoke with noted British author, actor, and intellectual Stephen Fry during the Summit, which was held in Kyiv on September 6, about our resilience, challenges, and possibilities in the field of mental health.
Oleh Romanchuk is a doctor and psychotherapist, a children’s psychiatrist at the Family Circle Center, and Director of the UCU Institute of Mental Health and the Ukrainian Institute of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
Oleh Romanchuk and Stephen Fry. Photo: Facebook page of Olena Zelenska
We share the main themes of his presentation at the Summit:
- Mental health is sensitive to the challenges of the modern world, and in Ukraine also to the challenges of war. And though we have problems and a lack of services, there is hope. People expect the situation to improve. There is hope in our resilience, support, and solidarity. There is hope in academic discoveries and possibilities for the help of specialists. The conclusion is simple: there is much work to do. It’s good to begin with education, which is overcoming stigmas and creating a culture to nurture mental health.
- On the one hand, resilience is our ability to go through trials but, despite them, to maintain and renew mental health, personal integrity, and welfare. On the other hand, this is the immune system of the mind, which gives us the strength to defend against various challenges, to be strong.
- Nurturing resilience is our national priority. We understand that this is our collective and individual system of “air defense.” It gives us the strength to defend against the challenges of war and to heal wounds. We need this very much.
- As a practicing psychotherapist, I constantly see the strength of the human spirit. There is much suffering and disorder, but there is also great love and support. This moves and inspires me incredibly.
Other participants at the Summit from Ukrainian Catholic University were Vice-Rector Natalka Klymovska and the head of projects and programs at the UCU Institute of Mental Health, Doctor of Psychiatry Orest Suvalo.
From left to right: Serhiy Mishchuk, Head of the Psychological Service (Vinnytsya); Orest Suvalo, Acting Director of UCU’s Institute of Mental Health; Natalka Klymovska, UCU Vice-Rector; Oleh Romanchuk, Director of UCU’s Institute of Mental Health; Andriy Karachevskyi, Officer of the Department of Psychological Support.
A full recording of the discussion can be seen below (beginning at 4:56:24):
We note that the UCU Institute of Mental Health was a partner of the Third Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen on the theme “Mental Health: The Fragility and Resilience of the Future,” held in Kyiv on September 6, 2023.