The impact of the war on children fleeing Ukraine. Witnesses

Photo: Unicef ​​Italia

THAT children they are the first victims of the war. Headache. Difficulty sleeping. Lack of concentration. These are the recurring symptoms found in the children who were visited at Antoniano in Bologna. These are the consequences of continuous alarm mode to which they are exposed children who have fled Ukraine since the war began.children

anxious children

The traumatic experience they have lived does not leave the children. Although they are now “safe” and far from war. Witness to a mother who ran away with her two children. Leaving her husband in Ukraine to fight. The school-age son is always connected to his cell phone. Knowing when the alarms are triggered. And if there is air attack. The child always runs to her as soon as it receives the message. And that’s why she’s always on alert. It is as if there is a continuous thread. Between them and the war that they went. This never allows him to feel safe. And to find renewed energy for meet everyday. During the visit, the child responded with instinctive flying behavior. Even in response to simple ambient noise. He jumped up when he heard a door open.children

Experience space

To confirm it is pediatric neuropsychiatrists of the Antonian. Dr. Annarosa Colonna explains: “The first thing to do to prevent or manage one post-traumatic stress disorder is to reduce the state of constant alarm. Where both adults and children live. It would be a great help to have one available experience space. To make use of non-verbal but expressive channels. Like art, music and movement. This is to access the emotional component. In a gentle and gradual way. Allows a reworking of experiences. And one reduction of the activation mode. “Frightened. Fragile. Destabilized. Children fleeing war exhibit behavioral difficulties. Due totraumatic experience they have experienced. In particular, these are manifestations of hyper-wakefulness with emotional dysregulation. They are children who pay attention to all the little ones variation of the environment.

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Odessa 03/16/2022 – war in Ukraine / photo Imago / Imagenella photo: refugees ONLY ITALY

Adaptive behavior

Sounds, movements and everything that happens around them. To whom they respond with hyperactivation. They stand up. They immediately approach the adults of the reference. And they stop the activity they were doing. These manifestations are even more pronounced in cases of disability. How maladaptive behavior is extreme. It is therefore essential to be close to children fleeing war, also from a psychological point of view. Three months after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, about 7.5 million children are at risk. And among these, over 39,000 have taken refuge in Italy.

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Kiev 04/03/2022 – war in Ukraine / photo Imago / Picture in picture: ONLY ITALY refugees

The horrors of war

It is children who, before reaching a safe place, they themselves have experienced not only the horrors of war. But also a sudden detachment from one’s daily life. And from your environment. “Children who are very important to be close to not only from the material point of view. But also from an emotional point of view “, explains Giampaolo Cavalli, director of Antoniano. To since the beginning of the emergency has taken steps to support people fleeing the war. Offers both material help and emotional and psychological support. Through the therapy center. It is the organization’s listening center.

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