Exhausted physically and mentally, some Ukrainian soldiers have seen horrors on a daily basis that most civilians never do.
At a handful of centers, they receive an array of therapies, including talking, swimming and time with animals, to treat the invisible injuries.
But those involved say the mental health needs of Ukraine’s troops are far greater than the available treatments and will be around for years.
Night brings little sleep and terrifying dreams. Day brings panic attacks and flashbacks. All are exhausted and some think of suicide. They fear their own thoughts, and what those thoughts might drive them to do.
“You can’t understand because you haven’t smelled it, heard the sounds, the feeling of what it’s like to kill someone,” said Maksym, a Ukrainian soldier who has been tormented by memories of the front and has been to a rehabilitation center outside Kharkiv, in the northeast.
In a year and a half of war, many of Ukraine’s troops have had breaks totaling only about two weeks. And when they do get short respites away from the front, what many of them need most is treatment for psychological trauma.
- There is a crisis of wounded psyches among Ukrainian soldiers.
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