Feeling stressed about the war in Ukraine? You're not the only one, Metro Detroit mental health experts say

Roundtable on mental health and the Russian invasion in Ukraine
Photo credit Dr. Deanna Lites / WWJ

WARREN, Mich. (WWJ) – A local mental health expert says the war in Ukraine can be stressful, even for those of us thousands of miles away in Metro Detroit.

Dr. Roman Kolodchin, the CEO of the Warren crisis center Safehaus, was among those attending a roundtable discussion on the toll the crisis in Eastern Europe can be having on all people.

During Wednesday’s discussion at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, Kolodchin, who is of Ukrainian descent, says the crisis in Ukraine has “triggered many feelings” for lots of people, even those with no ties to the country.

“It’s triggered many feelings of the Jewish people with the Holocaust, the Armenians with their holocaust, with a variety of people who have been persecuted and have faced wartime,” Kolodchin said.

He says it can also be triggering for elderly people who may have memories of war.

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Kolodchin was joined by other mental health leaders from Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties, who said common symptoms people may be experiencing during these uncertain times include stress, anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Health officials shared a number of resources for Metro Detroiters who may be having a tough time with this crisis.

The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network provides behavioral health supports to children and adults with serious emotional disturbance, severe mental illness, trauma, disability, anxiety, depression, substance use, suicidal thoughts, autism, etc.

The DWHIN’s 24/7 Access Center Helpline can be reached at 1-800-241-4949.

“We understand the events happening globally in Russia and Ukraine are affecting our brothers and sisters here in Wayne County and we want you to know, we are here to help,” DWHIN officials said in a statement.

Other resources include:

• Mindwise – a free, anonymous assessment tool that you get connected to resources. https://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/DWIHN
• My Strength – a free app you can download https://web-ui.mystrength.livongo.com/login
• ReachUsDetroit – a program that offers confidential screening for people ages 14 and up who may need mental health, substance use, suicide prevention tools, and resources https://reachusdetroit.org/
• DWIHN also has a robust array of services for Children https://www.dwihn.org/childrens-initiatives

When in doubt, a good place to start is reaching out to your local health department.

There are about 1,400 Ukrainian-Americans in Macomb County, many of whom have friends and family in the country, according to Executive Mark Hackel. He said many of them are feeling helpless during this time.

"I can only imagine the emotional impact it's having on folks as they go through this and watch this being played out," he said.