The sight of the millions of refugees fleeing Ukraine, most of them women and children, has created an unprecedented wave of global sympathy. In Poland, which has welcomed 1.4 million of them, and elsewhere in East-Central Europe, ordinary people are moving forward with donations of food, clothing, toys and baby cars. Many are opening their homes to meet strangers.

While not a groundbreaking contribution to the genre of charitable work, NGOs and well-paid international bureaucrats, they are widely acclaimed – and they make a huge difference in the lives of recipients. This is a reminder that simple solutions organized by parish priests or common people can sometimes be the most effective.

In the long run, of course, refugees in Ukraine will need more organized assistance to provide services such as schooling, healthcare and job training. But the lesson of the immediate crisis is worth remembering.

Think about mental health. Ukrainians, especially children, are experiencing horrific trauma for the second time in just two years. Lockdown measures and school closures to contain the epidemic make many children and young people feel lonely and isolated.

According to a meta-analysis of a study involving more than 80,000 young people worldwide, the tendency to depression and anxiety doubled during Covid-19. One in four have experienced clinically higher depressive symptoms and one in five has increased anxiety symptoms. In Europe, a Study Evidence has been found that high rates of stress, anxiety and depression affect young people disproportionately.

Yet here again, the simple solution – instead of the expensive and extensive publicity spread by media celebrities – may be part of the answer.

Alisha Taggart, an American therapist who works with people suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress, suggests that young people get together. “Copying tool box.” It is literally a container with items that can help children calm themselves down in times of panic or anxiety.

She suggests taking part in assembling tool boxes to give kids a sense of comfort and control. The box will include everyday items, each with a specific sensory role: a stuffed animal or a weighted cushion that supports the body’s awareness of itself; A fidget spinner or a stress ball to hold the hand; A pinwheel or bubble bottle for relaxation and breathing.

War refugees from Ukraine are being held at a school in Medica, Poland, near the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Items may also include a cool oil, for odor sensitive support; A jump rope or yoga book that requires physical movement; A puzzle or a book that requires thought or concentration; Some for oral motor sensory aid, such as sugar-free chewing gum; And some seemingly soothing such an hourglass.

We know that mental well-being is associated with overall physical health, one thing is so clear that WHO On its homepage is “There is no health without mental health”. As a concrete example, a Korean Study 1,204 elderly men and women are suffering Depression and anxiety show that they were at higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and asthma.

Similarly, poor oral health has been linked to many diseases Atherosclerotic vascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes and premature delivery. Simple and inexpensive solutions, such as toolboxes for dealing with anxiety – such as regular brushing, going to the dentist or even chewing sugar-free glue – can be effective not only for healthy laughter but also for more serious prevention. Problems

In terms of keeping the power of simple and inexpensive solutions, a recent pregnancy Study It is found in East Africa, where poverty limits access to quality healthcare Chewing sugar-free glue twice a day significantly reduces the risk of premature birth – Total cost per pregnancy $ 41.

Among his famous The burden of white people, Economist William Esterley describes how the West has spent $ 2.3 trillion on foreign aid to poor countries for five decades but failed to distribute $ 4 mosquito nets to prevent malaria in Africa. He contrasts with the “planners” who, with great ambition, take no responsibility for the results, with the “investigators” – who find out what is needed on the ground and provide it.

That book was published in 2006 Today, we still need more researchers and less planners – and we appreciate the generosity of simple solutions.

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