Ukrainian Railways to offer mental health support for rail workers
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukrainian rail workers have played a key role in ensuring stable cargo flows and safe ways out of the country. This, as it is imaginable, puts them under immense levels of stress. Ukrainian Railways (UZ), together with Israeli NGO IsraAID, will provide psychological support to those rail workers who need it. Moreover, from 1 July, UZ railway workers will experience a 10 per cent salary increase.
The main purpose of this initiative is “to reduce the level of psychological stress among the company’s employees and prevent psychological trauma that may occur as a result of various events caused by the war”. UZ pointed out that railway workers in Ukraine are under constant pressure, with many of them actively fighting in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Thus, UZ will also provide psychological support to veterans who are coming back from the front and returning to their job in the rail industry, as Olena Gavura, UZ Director of Personnel Management and Social Policy said.
UZ claimed that there will be around 120 specialists to provide psychological assistance to the employees. Moreover, the company will introduce 20 to 25 “internal trainers”, tasked with further training these specialists. The impact of this war on Ukrainian railway workers has been tragic, as underlined by UZ. According to their data, between 10,000 and 12,000 employees suffered psychological stress due to bombings on the railway infrastructure. These attacks led to 50 people being injured and 20, unfortunately, losing their lives.
IsraAID is non-governmental organisation based in Israel founded in 2001. The organisation has been active in the context of the war in Ukraine since its start by setting up services for fleeing refugees via Moldova and Romania. This is not the first initiative for IsraAID to provide mental health support to Ukrainians. Already in Spetember, the organisation hired and trained 60 specialists to help hospital workers throughout the country. They also got involved in January after various attacks to give psychological support to the families and first responders affected.