The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on Thursday 24 February, can
provoke anxiety and fear in oneself and those around you even if you are not
experiencing an imminent threat of war. The unfolding situation is a crisis
that affects us all in one way or another. Many people are wondering, for
example, how to help those in need. It is also important to take care of your
Use reliable information sources
A great deal of disinformation (deliberately misleading information) is being
disseminated over the Internet. The current situation feeds the spread of
disinformation and stokes fear, anxiety and uncertainty. People also differ in
terms of how much it helps them to deal with the crisis when they get more
information about it. When acquiring information, you should think about your
own tolerance levels, try to be methodical, and stick to sources of
information that has been shown to be reliable.
Reliable sources of information take a neutral approach, try to present things
based on the best information available, and do not try to actively influence
Please also take note that following the news on this topic is challenging.
The situation is changing rapidly and, even from reliable sources, some of the
details may be inaccurate or incomplete.
Also, try to limit your use of social media and at least consider how much
weight you give to the stories and perspectives you encounter there.
Advise children and young people also to avoid social media and discuss with
them the headlines and content that they see, while listening to their
feelings and seeking to maintain a sense of security and hope. Among the
different social media channels, TikTok in particular has been found to
contain both true and false video material about the crisis in Ukraine.
Make a plan for how you will follow the news
From the point of view of your ability to function in everyday life, it is
important both to make a plan for how much you will follow the news and then
stick to that plan. Even if you would like to actively follow the development
of the situation, it is important to ensure that this does not interfere with
daily work or family life, for example. You could, for example, schedule a
daily time for yourself to go through the latest news. If this is difficult,
it may help to think of how setting these times gives you freedom to focus on
other things at other times.
The sense of solidarity and sympathy for the situation of Ukraine and its
citizens is strong among Finnish people. There is an understandable desire to
help and alleviate the distress of those who are suffering. The main way to
help is through cash donations, but you can also help by other means.
Take part in the discussion
You can help by participating in public discussion, while avoiding and
recognising the misleading information mentioned earlier. You can take part in
the discussion on social media or by taking part in demonstrations, for
example, but remember to take a break from this discussion from time to time
so that you do not become overwhelmed.
Support aid organisations
You can financially contribute to humanitarian aid and help civilians affected
by the war. Large international organisations are a safe option. With more
unfamiliar organisations, always find out about them before donating. The
following are examples of well-known international organisations:
Finnish Committee for Unicef
The Finnish Red Cross
Save the Children
Church Foreign Aid
Talking to children about war and the threat of war
As a parent or guardian, you will encounter situations where you discuss war
or the threat of war with a child or young person. With school-age children,
it is okay to talk about the threat of war and crisis situations around the
world. The younger the child is, however, the more they should be protected
from news about the crisis.
Create space for conversation
Give the child space to calmly talk about their experiences, thoughts and
feelings. They may not yet have the vocabulary for describing what they want
to say. Maintain a calm and hopeful presence, even if the child reacts
strongly, and also give room for negative feelings. Such negative feelings may
emerge, for example, in the child’s play.
Protect the child from your own worry
Even if you are personally affected by uncertainty and worry, it is important
to talk to the child as calmly as possible and to convey a sense of security.
It is common for a child's fears to provoke strong emotional reactions in an
adult. If a child starts a conversation and you feel very anxious, you can
either postpone the conversation or ask another adult who the child feels safe
with to talk with them instead. It is of primary importance, however, that the
child is able to express their feelings in an accepting environment.
Emphasise that the things on the news do not directly threaten the child
It may be difficult for a child to grasp the distances involved and who is
affected by various crises and how.
People are working for peace
Point out that, while the issues in the news are worrying, many adults are
working to resolve the situation. The spread of war, conflict and crisis to
other regions is in no one's interest.
More information is available on the website of the Mannerheim League for
Take care of your own well-being in these uncertain times
Recognising your own reactions to threatening and uncertain situations and
nurturing your own well-being will help to maintain your functional capacity
in everyday life and support others who are worried about the situation.