Gender norms and masculine expectations not only impact the type of traumatic experiences faced by men during conflict, but also how trauma manifests amongst men, and how humanitarian actors engage with them. As the Ukraine-Russia war enters its third year, Ukrainian society is increasingly impacted by veteran and combatant mental health issues, with many Ukrainians daily affected by conflict trauma.

This moderated discussion will engage the perspectives of conflict researchers, civil society, and veterans to outline how without receiving proper support, men can be at risk of developing negative coping mechanisms, that may include various types of violence. Speakers will argue that addressing conflict-related trauma in men and boys benefits not just their own wellbeing, but the wellbeing of their families and wider community.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Heidi Riley, who will speak about her XCEPT research on psychosocial support programmes for men.
  • Masi Nayyem, a recent Ukrainian veteran and lawyer awarded the Medal for Military Valor (2022), Wound Medal (2022), and the Firearms Award of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (2022), who will speak about the current experience and support needs of troops and veterans in Ukraine.
  • Ivona Kostyna, the current head of Ukrainian NGO Veteran Hub, who will discuss current and future challenges to veteran and combatant reintegration into Ukrainian society.

The discussion and Q&A session will be moderated by Lt Gen Dr Martin Bricknell, ex-Surgeon-General of the UK Armed Forces and current Professor in Conflict, Health and Military Medicine at King’s College London.

The panel will discuss how psycho-social support programmes can be deprioritised in conflict settings. Speakers will explore how innovative programming, such as mainstreaming interventions into broader livelihood programmes and context-specific conflict trauma services, encourages participation and complements efforts to cater to primary needs of men in conflict settings, especially conflict veterans. Focus will also be given to culturally sensitive masculinity lenses, which can ensure future programme design for conflict settings is inclusive and trauma-focused.