12:05 14.05.2024

Olena Zelenska meets with President and First Lady of Serbia

4 min read
Olena Zelenska meets with President and First Lady of Serbia
Photo: https://president.gov.ua/

During her visit to Serbia to participate in the Mental Health Conference, Olena Zelenska met with President of this country Aleksandar Vucic and First Lady Tamara Vucic, the presidential press service reports.

Olena Zelenska expressed gratitude for the assistance Serbia has provided to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion. The country has sheltered 2,200 Ukrainians, allocated financial aid for humanitarian purposes, and donated ambulances to Kharkiv and Cherkasy emergency medical centers.

"The needs of Ukrainians for emergency medical care have increased significantly, as the Russian terror against Ukrainian settlements not only continues, but also shows an alarming tendency to intensify. I am grateful to Serbia for understanding that people matter most," the wife of the President of Ukraine emphasized.

The parties also agreed on additional significant humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Olena Zelenska thanked Tamara Vucic for organizing the Mental Health Conference in Belgrade: "It is very valuable to me that you initiated the Conference on mental health, because one of the goals of the Third Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, in which you took an active part, was to actualize this topic in the world at the level of national governments and international organizations. During the year, similar events with my participation also took place in Germany and the UK. And I saw from these examples how important it is to bring together experts from the two countries and give them the opportunity for a detailed dialogue."

The First Lady of Ukraine and the Serbian presidential couple discussed cultural cooperation between the two countries. In particular, she thanked for the opening of a Ukrainian bookshelf in the Belgrade library, a Ukrainian-language audio guide in the Kalemegdan Fortress Museum, and the signing of an agreement between the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and the University of Belgrade.

"These projects, which I personally patronize, are important for mutual understanding between our countries and people. Ukraine, defending its life, also defends its language, culture, and history. And each such project is part of this defense and preservation of our values," she said.

The First Lady also visited the CEZAM Youth Center, created to support the mental health and safety of people aged 10 to 30. The center offers free psychological consultations, master classes in psychology and career guidance, movie screenings, discussions, and meetings.

"Many ideas can be borrowed here for the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program. The key is for young people who are experiencing a problem not to be ashamed or afraid to seek help," Olena Zelenska emphasized.

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska also opened the Mental Health Conference during her visit to Belgrade, Serbia. "At each Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, we raise a topic that is important for the whole world. And last fall, at the third Summit in Kyiv, mental health was the topic. After all, no matter what countries we live in, our mental state is very interconnected and interdependent. You could say that mental health, like ecology, like clean water or air, has no borders. And I am glad that we are now continuing this topic here in Belgrade," she said.

Olena Zelenska, as well as Head of the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers Oksana Zbitneva, Director of the Institute of Mental Health of the Ukrainian Catholic University Oleh Romanchuk and mental health experts from Serbia and UNICEF, took part in panel discussions "Mental Health of Children and Adolescents – Investing in Our Future" and "Mental Health in a Post-Conflict Environment."

The President's wife spoke about the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program "How are you?" aimed at overcoming the stress caused by the war. According to the Ministry of Health, 77% of Ukrainians experience it.

"Russia's aggression targets Ukrainians not only with weapons, but also with diseases. And I would like to point out that if it seems that this problem concerns only Ukraine, it only seems so. We found this out last year, during the research for the Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen. Residents of 11 countries called anxiety about the war one of the greatest," Olena Zelenska noted.

She recalled the words of the Conference organizer, First Lady of Serbia Tamara Vucic: "Nothing can overcome united people."

"She addressed them to Ukrainians who united against the enemy. I want to address them to you, the participants of today's meeting. If we combine our experience, we will be able to overcome the challenges in the field of mental health with dignity," the wife of the President of Ukraine summarized.