Elizabeth A. Stanley, PhD

Bringing MMFT to Ukraine

In early 2023, I was approached by the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv and the Forest Glade Veterans Rehabilitation Hospital in Kyiv—Ukraine’s national center for excellence for PTSD—in collaboration with other NGO’s and the Ukrainian Ministries of Health and of Veterans. They approached me because of MMFT’s robust empirical research base among stressed and traumatized populations.

By the end of the war, there will be more than 3 million veterans in need of recovery from combat. Moreover, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health predicts that 3.5 million Ukrainians will develop a mental health disorder as a result of the war—prevalence that far outpaces the capacity of their health care system. Given this, our Ukrainian collaborators want to empower Ukrainians with self-regulation skills to support themselves as much as possible.

Our collaboration has already been fruitful. The Sounds True Foundation and I have given a royalty-free licensed for the MMFT Online Course to the Ukrainian Catholic University. Forest Glade is leading the effort to translate and dub the online course into Ukrainian, while UCU is building the technical interface to host the course on their online platform. Once translated, Ukrainian MMFT Online will be available to all Ukrainians, anywhere, for free.

At the same time, our Ukrainian collaborators want us to train Ukrainian-speaking MMFT Trainers from several sectors, including first responders, health care providers, veterans, and community and business leaders. To start this effort, in early 2024, I and other MMFT Trainers taught the first 8-week MMFT course, live with simultaneous translation, on Zoom. We worked with a cohort of 44 participants from several societal sectors, located all around Ukraine—including almost a quarter working at or near the frontlines. Our goal is to train at least two more cohorts in the 8-week course before selecting individuals for the Ukrainian MMFT Trainer certification program.

Participants in the Ukrainian MMFT Zoom course reported large improvements in their symptoms of insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, and other symptoms of dysregulation. In the words of some participants:

  • Thank you very much for this course! It was just like fresh air in the smoky space we live in now. I could not even imagine how unbalanced I was, how much my mind wandered. Now I seem to have come back to myself, there is a feeling of control over the situation (as much as possible).
  • I have become more stress-resistant, and I feel it in my everyday life…I react more calmly to alarm signals, [and] internal anxiety has passed, which did not bring any benefit at all, but only exhausted me. And in communication with other people, I can now react more calmly to unpleasant statements, where I used to get angry immediately. Thank you very much!!! It really works!
  • MMFT is extremely helpful, important, and definitely effective. This course is unlike any other mindfulness experience I’ve had before. And, I must note: in my opinion, in conditions of constant stress, this approach and this technique are definitely more effective and efficient than those with which I was familiar before. I will definitely continue to practice and wait for the trainer course. Because these skills and this knowledge should be spread further to benefit other people. Thank you!
  • After this course, even in extremely difficult conditions of imminent danger, I have demonstrated the ability to be with a group and control my thoughts, emotions, and actions. That’s cool!
  • Thank you so much! During this course, I felt in my body the feeling of happiness that was before the war.
  • The further I go with MMFT, the more I want to share MMFT with my people.

We could use your help!  We still seek funding to complete the Ukrainian MMFT Online course launch on UCU’s platform.  We also seek funding to update, adapt, and translate the training materials for the MMFT train-the-trainer certification program, as a first step to running the trainer certification sequence in Ukraine. These materials will establish curriculum and assessment tools for future MMFT Ukrainian Trainers.  Creating a cadre of Ukrainian-speaking MMFT Trainers will allow the MMFT program to become self-sustaining in Ukraine.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to this effort in Ukraine, you can donate in two ways:

  • Contribute online to the Sounds True Foundation here
  • Mail a paper check to the Sounds True Foundation, PO Box 1020 Lafayette, CO 80026. Please be sure to write “MMFT” on your check.

We appreciate any and all support that you can offer for this project!