The purpose and duration of the course
*World Health Organization. (2021). Self help plus (SH+): a group-based stress management course for adults, Generic field-trial version 1.0, World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/345349. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO (2021).
**This is an adaptation of an original work “Self help plus (SH+): a group-based stress management course for adults, Generic field-trial version 1.0, World Health Organization.. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO); . Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO”. This adaptation was not created by WHO. WHO is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this adaptation. The original edition shall be the binding and authentic edition
Program format: individual online materials
Duration: 1.5 hours of active learning time
Since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, more than 14 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country or have been internally displaced, causing "the largest human displacement crisis in the modern world." Ukrainians who have been affected by the armed conflict and migration are likely to have poor mental health and seek help. Our data supports this concern.
Our team conducted an early online mental health assessment of 1,165 Ukrainians seeking psychological help in the European Union and Ukraine. Ukrainian refugees, internally displaced persons, and migrants seeking help are at extremely high risk of depression and psychological disorders.
We evaluated the feasibility and tested an individualized online self-help course for Ukrainians aimed at improving psychological well-being and reducing stress. The online course in Ukrainian was created on the basis of the offline WHO Self-Help+ materials recommended for online adaptation by the World Health Organization. For example, these offline materials were proven effective for refugees from South Sudan. We have adapted these materials for online teaching with the help of animated videos with a professional narrator reading the material in Ukrainian.
1165 Ukrainians currently residing in 24 European Union countries or in Ukraine registered and agreed to participate in the program and its evaluation in June-August 2022. To evaluate the impact of the course on participants' mental health, a computer randomly selected half of the registered participants to complete the entire program - the intervention group. The rest, the comparison group, received only informational materials.
As expected, not everyone who registered decided to participate: just over 50% of registered users logged on to the platform after registration. Fortunately, among those who did log in, the activity of completing the course was relatively high for an online program: 66% of participants completed the first lesson, and 50% completed the last.
Qualitative feedback from course participants was also positive. Both groups reported improved mental health and reduced stress levels a few months after starting the program
Asanov, A.M., Asanov, I. and Buenstorf, G., 2023. Mental health and stress level of Ukrainians seeking psychological help online. Heliyon. 9, (11). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e21933
Tol, W.A., Leku, M.R., Lakin, D.P., Carswell, K., Augustinavicius, J., Adaku, A., Au, T.M., Brown, F.L., Bryant, R.A., Garcia-Moreno, C. and Musci, R.J., 2020. Guided self-help to reduce psychological distress in South Sudanese female refugees in Uganda: a cluster randomised trial. The Lancet Global Health, 8(2), pp.e254-e263.
UNHCR. Ukraine Situation Flash Update #20. data2.unhcr.org, https://data.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/94138 [Data from July 2022] ( Accessed 17 July 2022).
World Health Organization. (2021). Self help plus (SH+): a group-based stress management course for adults, Generic field-trial version 1.0, World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/345349. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO (2021).