World Mental Health Day – October 10 2019

A mother's struggle with depression

The only reason Nina* contacted SOS Children's Villages Ukraine was to see if her children could be cared for if she committed suicide.

Her life had taken a turn for the worse. The bank branch she managed in a suburb of Kiev closed, leaving her without a job. Shortly after, she learned she was pregnant. Her husband, unable to cope with the family's situation, suddenly left. Nina went from confused, to lost, to depressed, and finally became convinced suicide was the only way out

"I was in pain, and I just wanted for all of it to end," says the mother of three.

For Nina, a chance meeting and a swift reaction by an experienced social worker at SOS Children's Village Brovary in Ukraine, turned her and her children's lives around. Nina got psychological counselling and support from a group of people who understood her situation.

This year's World Mental Health Day focuses on suicide prevention. The World Health Organization states that one person worldwide dies every 40 seconds from suicide. Providing a safe environment where a person can seek help to improve or maintain their mental health is key to suicide prevention.

SOS Children’s Villages specialises in working with children and families who have often experienced trauma. SOS caregivers and social workers receive on-going training to best support children and adults to recover from their ordeals, and psychologists provide more intensive mental health support when needed.

In Nina’s case, the SOS social worker, Luba, tended to the needs of the children as well. The two older children, Roman* and Valeriya*, joined the creative children's workshops in SOS Children's Village Brovary. Valeriya took dancing which helped her overcome her shyness and make friends. Roman saw a psychologist and took drawing lessons, which became an outlet for his fears and insecurities. The boy became calmer and, after a long time, could really talk with his mother.

“One day, about a year after Luba and SOS Children's Villages came into our lives, I suddenly stopped to see where we are,” says Nina. “I saw myself as a tired struggling mother, but a mother who wasn't going to give up. I saw that I got my children back and, more importantly, that my children got their mother back."

*Names changed to protect privacy

Learn more about our work in Ukraine