The Local Organising Committee of the 20th Congress are dismayed and angered by the unjust invasion of Ukraine, and the senseless, and far-reaching damage this will inflict on its people. We echo calls for the immediate end to the conflict, and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. In addition to the needless loss of life, livelihoods and right to peace and safety that the invasion of Ukraine has brought to bear on an entire population, we are appalled by the rapidly unfolding humanitarian crisis in a sovereign European nation.
The work conducted by many members and affiliates of the European Psychiatric Association Section of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry demonstrates all too well the pervasive, harmful effects of exposure to trauma, violence, conflict and displacement on the mental health of populations. We know that this conflict will create suffering and distress on a scale not seen in a generation, and we urge the immediate cessation of fighting to prevent further unnecessary mental and physical suffering from being inflicted on the Ukrainian people.
The EPA has published its own statement on the situation in Ukraine and has provided a set of resources for psychiatrists, clinicians and others working with traumatised and vulnerable populations. The EPA has also made a financial contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to make sure that those fleeing the war will receive much needed support. The EPA calls on its individual and national psychiatric association members to support Ukrainians by also donating to the charity of their choice. The “EPA Network of Solidarity” will monitor the situation on a weekly basis, meeting regularly to discuss how best to support mental health professionals at this very difficult time for Europe.
The Local Organising Committee of the 20th Congress of the Section of Epidemiology and Social Psychiatry will also make a donation to the UNHCR. Our Section has a tradition of providing a welcoming, inclusive and collegiate environment at our Congresses, a commitment that we look forward to continuing at our 20th meeting. All delegates will be welcome, regardless of nationality, and there will be no place for intolerance or discrimination in any form.
The LOC has taken the decision to offer reduced price tickets (available at the student/trainee rate) to any delegates who hold a Ukrainian passport or who are based at a Ukrainian institution. We have also taken the decision to prohibit attendance at the 20th Congress from anyone employed by or studying at any state-funded Russian institution.