Wounded Warrior Ukraine (WWU) is a project of Healing War Scars Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in the United States in December 2014 by Dr. Roman Torgovitsky, Harvard-trained biomedical scientist and social entrepreneur. The overarching mission of the project is to provide psychological rehabilitative assistance to Ukrainians affected by visible and invisible wounds of war. While the idea behind project’s creation was Maidan-born, WWU’s mission transcends political gaps by serving and empowering both veterans and civilians.
War-induced psychological trauma heightens rates of veterans’ depression, divorce, and suicide. It also impacts veterans’ families, creating serious long term negative effects on society. Experience of other countries, including the United States, shows that only a few veterans are willing to admit to themselves that war trauma has affected them. Seeking psychological help is often considered a taboo, especially in post-Soviet states. As a result, many veterans self-medicate with alcohol and drugs, as well as seek out dangerous and criminal experiences.
WWU launched a unique program in Ukraine that trains Ukrainian veterans in providing peer-to-peer support and counseling. This innovative training is based on the premise that while many veterans resist opening up to psychotherapists, they naturally bond with other veterans who experienced war.
In the summer of 2015, WWU graduated its inaugural class of nineteen Ukrainian veteran-instructors who have already begun offering peer-to-peer counseling. WWU will continue to support their work with individual and group psychotherapy sessions. Over the next two years, WWU plans to operate a rehabilitation and leadership center that would train veteran-instructors in helping other veterans and civilians overcome psychological trauma of war.
WWU is currently supported and operated by a small group of volunteers in the United States and in Ukraine. In order to create a sustainable training operation with ongoing programs in Ukraine, WWU plans to augment their volunteer corps with part- and full-time staff. WWU needs substantial financial support to help Ukraine overcome disastrous effects of war trauma.