Employee evacuation from Ukraine
Kenyon were initially engaged by the client to provide remote mental health support to the company’s employees ahead of the invasion. In close coordination with the client, this strategy was changed, and Kenyon set up multiple evacuation centres in Poland, close to the western border of Ukraine. The centres opened shortly after the invasion to facilitate the evacuation of the employees and their families to a temporary place of safety ahead of relocation to more permanent accommodation. The primary goal was to provide a place of safety where the evacuees can receive initial care, while assessing additional needs and providing services as required, with a focus on mental health.
Initial challenges included the unknown number of evacuees needing support which had to be carefully factored into the deployment plan. As the operation progressed, a steady turnover of evacuees meant it became increasingly important to maintain accurate records of people still using the centre, and their needs. These records helped inform the daily activities and shape the mental health operations.
The welfare centres set up provided a safe environment for people who had experienced significant turmoil and were still living in uncertainty about their futures, the safety of their friends and relatives, and the futures of their homes in Ukraine. Kenyon’s multilingual professionals were deployed to assist and care for families whose first language wasn’t English.
During their wait for relocation or onward travel, Kenyon provided activities for children to create a more normal environment and minimise stress. This included art and crafts, table tennis, football, pottery, music and ‘walk and talks’ to enable them to voice their fears in a safe and inclusive way. At the same time, this enabled parents to manage practicalities surrounding the evacuation, including contacting friends and relatives and assessing the impact of the war on their homes. Parent activities have also been arranged to provide some distraction from the invasion and its impacts.
In all there were 20 Kenyons deployed, covering family assistance, mental health support, and the crisis management centre. With only four team members deployed abroad at any time, a rota was created, ensuring optimum support was always provided. The team worked over 185 days in total and provided mental health support on over 60 calls, ranging from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
The successful outcome of this operation meant that the Client’s staff were given the able to mentally address the trauma they faced and move on after their stay at the centres, allowing them and their families to return to a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Conor Prendergast, Managing Director of Kenyon International, commented:
“This has been an unimaginably difficult time for the people of Ukraine as they face the most challenging and unexpected circumstances. Our priority is our client’s employees’ welfare, and we are committed to providing the most comprehensive service possible to meet their physical and mental needs.