#Grants & projects: Ethnicity and Mental Health: Exploring Nonmedical Approaches to Mental Health for Roma Communities in Europe


Supported by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the Public Health Program of the Open Society Foundations. 

November 2019 – April 2020




  • International Charitable Organization “Roma women fund “Chiricli” (Main Implementing Partner)
  • Roma Organization “Trayo”
  • School of Social Work of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”
  • Center of Mental Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine


Project manager: Vitalii Klymchuk

The aim of the project is to advance non-medical approaches to mental health that incorporate the impact of social determinants, social exclusion, stigma and discrimination on mental health of Roma people in Ukraine.

The project will be devoted to filling a substantial gap in our knowledge of mental health of Roma people and the impact of social determinants on mental health (negative as well as positive). In order to achieve this aim intensive and extensive multidisciplinary field studies of the current situation in Ukraine will be conducted. The project will utilize desktop review, gathering quantitative and qualitative data, analysis of policies and legislation, as well as mapping services and stakeholders.

The final focus of the project will be the development of a strategy for advancing mental health and psychosocial support for Roma people in Ukraine with foundation on evidence-based approaches; “the Strategy for the Roma Better Mental Health”. 

A further substantial benefit from the project will be an increase in stakeholder awareness of Roma mental health.

Despite a huge amount of data about mental health, and large number of research and routine data collections all over the world we are still with several crucial blind spots. First of them is ethnicity and mental health – and the most under-researched and unknown is the mental health profile of Roma people. The second blind spot lies in the field of the understanding of the social determinants of mental health and the application of this knowledge to policies and practices. Thus, addressing the social determinants of mental health in Roma people is becoming urgent and crucial for achieving better mental health for all (moving towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and Universal Health Coverage). 

There are good evidences that addressing the social determinants of mental health, providing activities supporting the promotion of mental health and prevention of mental disorders is the most cost-effective way to reduce the societal burden of mental health disorders.

Therefore, this project will provide an input not just to the solution of local problems, but to addressing social determinants of mental health globally by producing the evidence and practical information for decision-making and policy development. 

Project has such objectives: 

Objective 1: Collection and collation of evidence on mental health of Roma people in Ukraine and its social determinants  

Objective 2: Analysis of Ukrainian policies in the frame of the social determinants of mental health

Objective 3: Mapping of the stakeholders and services working in the field

Objective 4: Development of a strong strategy to advance mental health, address its social determinants and deliver psychosocial support for the Roma communities

At the end of the grant period are expected that: 1) gap in knowledge about mental health of Roma people will start to fill up, 2) issues in legislation connected with social determinants of mental health will be identified, 3) a mapping of the services relevant to mental health of Roma people will be made available, 4) an initial strategy for advancing the mental health of Roma people in Ukraine will be produced and will become a starting point for signifcant changes. 

As result of the outlined outcomes (impact) the awareness of policy-makers, decision-makers, mental health and psychosocial support professionals, general public and Roma people as well will be stimulated to grow.  

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