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Theme 6.3 Global crisis - Climate change  > projects

Global crisis - Armed Conflict

Theme leader: Jana Javakhishvili

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The recent events in Ukraine, but also Afghanistan, Ethiopia and other areas in the world call for available relevant information and guidelines on how we can support trauma survivors caught up in armed conflict.

For information that may be of help to survivors or trauma professionals in times of armed conflict please find it on this page

On this page we share projects relevant to the theme. 

More projects on refugees can be found under the Forced displacement theme here.

Please contact Jana Javakhishvili for questions or suggestions regarding project related to trauma survivors caught up in armed conflict..


1. Developing a position paper on physical and psychological survival of war stress

Project leader: Jana Javakhishvili

Project group: Stefanie Freel, Chris Hoeboer, Miranda Olff, Janne Punski-Hoogervorst, Joe Ruzek, Arieh Shalev.

During war hostilities civilians are exposed to a myriad of severe stressors, major losses, and extreme situational demands. Whilst such stressor might be traumatic in the long run, the task at hand during hostilities is survival and harm mitigation. At such time survival efforts not only involves the individual, but also families, attachment networks, and larger groups. They encompass physical and psychological survival, attaining food shelter and safety, re-evaluating the new realities’ constraints and openings, maintaining orientation and communication, adjusting to losses and overcoming exposure to grotesque death and deconfiguration.


At such time as well, individuals’ inherent resilience and intuitive resourcefulness are challenged by unexpected and, at times, inescapable stressors and require adjustment and adaptation. Psychological first aid, including guiding, training and advising lay helpers and professionals is important during hostilities. However, understanding and addressing the burden on those directly exposed is truly critical: they are the ones who evaluate threat and protection, assess risks and opportunities, sooth children – and one another; process and adjust to changing situational constraints, weigh information accuracy and relevance, derive and test predictions and courses of action and engage in salutogenic activities.


We need to directly address those at harm’s way, help by advice and guidance based on extant knowledge taken from disaster and combat psychiatry, from relocation and refugees situations, captivity and genocide survivorship and other empirical or descriptive sources. Inherent to this work is the repeated observations of individuals and families’ resourcefulness during extreme conditions and a belief in inherent resiliency potential in each individual.


  • Javakhishvili et al., in prep. Position paper: Mental health and psychosocial support during ongoing armed conflict 

2. The Nadiya project
Health of Ukrainian displaced persons: Risk and supportive factors in response to the war
Project leader: Trudy Mooren. 
Find details here under Displaced persons
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