W19 – War in Ukraine: How Canadians Can Help with the Emerging Global Humanitarian Catastrophe

W19 – War in Ukraine: How Canadians Can Help with the Emerging Global Humanitarian Catastrophe

Thursday, Oct. 27
12:00 – 13:30 (1.5 hrs)
Meeting Room: Grand Ballroom (Lower Concourse)
Andriy Samokhvalov*, MD, PhD, FRCPC; Nataliya Maruta, MD, PhD (President of Ukrainian Psychiatric Association); Stefan Brennan, MD, FRCPC; A representative of a refugee community in Canada

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Health Advocate
  2. Medical Expert
  3. Collaborator

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Be aware of the emerging humanitarian catastrophe and its scope; 2) Outline the steps Canadian and Ukrainian psychiatrists are undertaking to mitigate the wave of mental illnesses among Ukrainians; and 3) Form expectations regarding immigrant and refugee health in Canada and ways Canadians can provide assistance.

The war in Ukraine started on February 18, 2022, with the Russian army attacking multiple military and infrastructure targets as well as civilian objects. Although the goals of this war keep changing and world leaders are trying to end it, it has already resulted in tens of thousands of deaths among military personnel from each side, tens of thousands of civilian deaths, and more than 14 million of Ukrainians witnessing the horrors of war and seeking refuge in western parts of Ukraine and abroad. (1) Many Ukrainian refugees have already come or will come to Canada and require social and medical assistance for psychiatric and various somatic illnesses. (2) The war has also disrupted supply chains, threatening a major humanitarian catastrophe in multiple African countries and disrupting the global economy on multiple levels. These sequelae, when superimposed on the economic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and the re-emergence of political and military tensions in other parts of the world, create an unprecedented burden on the Canadian economy and mental health services, which, though not entirely preventable, are predictable and can be mitigated by coordinated efforts of various stakeholders. Canadian psychiatrists and the Canadian Psychiatric Association are facing a new challenge; we need to be aware of and prepared for it. Thus, a joint panel of experts and people with lived experiences will share their opinions on the ongoing war and suggestions on mitigating its psychiatric burden in Canada.


  1. Greenaway C, Fabreau G, Pottie K. The war in Ukraine and refugee health care: considerations for health care providers in Canada. CMAJ 2022;194:E911–E915.
  2. McMurray J, Breward K, Breward M, et al. Integrated primary care improves access to healthcare for newly arrived refugees in Canada. J Immigr Minor Health 2014;16:576–85.