But this is only half the problem that needs to be solved. For those who do seek treatment, there are not enough resources to help them. Clinical psychologists are supposed to limit the number of patient consultations in a day, so they don’t burn out. Before the full-scale attack, Inna Davydenko saw as many as four patients a day. Today, Davydenko, a mental health specialist at Kyiv’s City Center of Neurorehabilitation, is seeing double that number. As we speak, she has just finished a video call with a soldier stationed near the front, whom she is helping deal with stress and anxiety.

Before the war massively increased the number of people dealing with trauma, depression and anxiety, Ukraine’s medical system suffered from underinvestment in mental health provision. “In most hospitals, you probably have one psychiatrist. In good hospitals, it’s probably two,” says Davydenko. “A lot of people need psychological help, but we can’t cover everything.” There is no way the current system can keep up with the huge jump in demand. But, says Davydenko, “almost every Ukrainian person has a smartphone.”

This is exactly what Polovenko and Itskovich want to exploit, using Kyiv Digital’s platforms and data to digitize mental health support for the city, and bridge the gap between need and resources. His project will focus first on those he has identified as the most vulnerable—war veterans and children—and those who are best able to help others: teachers and parents. . Polvenko says the next six months of the project will be a “discovery phase.” “We now need to understand the real lives of our veterans, the children, the parents, what their context is, how they live, what services they use.”

The project will track people through the process of recovering from trauma, monitoring the treatment they receive, their concerns as they move through the mental health system, and their outcomes. Once the team has a detailed map of services and barriers, and data on what’s working and what’s not, they can tailor treatments to individual needs. A full rollout is scheduled for early 2025.

“That doesn’t mean the entire service chain will be completely digital,” Itskovych says. Some patients may be directed to group therapy or one-on-one meetings with a psychologist, others will be given access to online tools. The goal, she says, is to create efficiency, to eliminate service gaps, but also to meet people where they are, providing comfort. “For a large portion of our clients, it’s more comforting to get service online in different ways. Some people aren’t comfortable meeting a specialist one-on-one. They prefer a digital way to get service. .

The project is being financially and operationally supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charity created by former New York Mayor and Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg. James Anderson, head of government innovation at the organization, says the plan comes at a critical time for Kyiv, where people continue to face hardships even as global attention shifts to other crises.