It’s clear the impact (mental, emotional and physical) of the Ukraine-Russia war goes beyond borders. Thanks to a constantly updating newsfeed, we are watching events unfold before our eyes – with many of us left feeling confused and heartbroken. The WhyNot team would like to create a space for your unfiltered thoughts. To submit your own Unfiltered Thoughts head here.
The Y’s around the world are assisting the Ukrainian community with shelter, blankets, hygiene products, basic aid items and medical supplies. If you can, please donate through the fundraising links below.
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This following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can seek support from the following services or visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.
No fault of their own
I feel worried. I am scared of the impacts that this war is going to have on my future and the futures of other young people, especially those young people in the middle of it, who have now become refugees through no fault of their own.
I am terrified of the chance that this may turn into something bigger, that we haven’t learnt from history. It seems absurdly a lot of the messages we are getting is that this won’t turn into a world war, but it’s hard not to feel like something like that could happen, when people are dying every day. It is worrying that as a young person, my future and the futures of other young people may be radically changed to fight a war that none of us want, that no one is calling for except a few political elites.
Rhegan, 21 WA
Strong but peaceful
The world is now acutely aware of the acts of aggression taking place on the population of Ukraine where their livelihoods, safety and security are at stake. The people of Ukraine have the right to self-determination and Russia’s brutal attacks on the country and its people need to be condemned by the global community.
Strong but peaceful diplomacy and intervention is necessary in this time of conflict and the international community has the responsibility to play its part in working with Russia and Ukraine to resolve conflict as soon as possible. The threat of a major war in Eastern Europe is a scary concept, and now is a time of great uncertainty about our future in many aspects.
Young people need to voice their opinions and wishes for the international community to prevent the exacerbation of this conflict.
Emily, 20 WA
Thinking of the children
This week, a friend shared a video of a group of children at a charity event at the west Ukrainian border. The children were joyous – dancing, smiling and laughing in the sun. I watched the video over and over, probably 20 times. Despite many of those children being displaced, likely having lost loved ones – the video caught them in a moment of unbridled, innocent play.
The news so often conveys the conflict in Ukraine through visuals of darkness, suffering and death – but somehow this video cut deeper than that. It showed to me, in 50 seconds, a quintessential image of childhood bliss. But, as the video ended, I was left feeling so scared for these children and their futures. To think that those happy children could have their childhoods robbed from them by war – it simply broke my heart.
Kirra, 21 VIC
It has been distressing and heart-breaking as a member of the youth community of Western Australia to see the Russian invasion of Ukraine over the last couple of months. My sympathies go out to the Ukrainian diaspora in Western Australia and beyond. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is against international law and has been widely condemned by the world. It is important that the international community takes measures to support those affected by the events.
International leaders should offer further support to Ukrainian war-time refugees by providing them with resettlement, shelter, and basic supplies. There needs to be a greater push to confute the misinformation being spread by the Kremlin and to combat Putin’s brazen manipulation of the Russian people. This can be achieved through further efforts to accelerate access to information through the internet and social media.
Callum, 22 WA
I am heartbroken
The emotional burden this war has had on my family is difficult to describe. I am a first generation Australian and my family came from the capital of Kiev prior to my birth. Though I have never visited Ukraine, the presence of Ukrainian language and culture in my life has become a significant part of my life to the point where I consider Ukraine my home. The recent war in Ukraine has been heart breaking in short. It’s difficult to hear the human cost of the war, and how many people my age and younger have had their lives torn apart in Russia’s effort to commit genocide upon innocent people. Calling my grandparents on the phone, I can hear sirens in the background. My family in Ukraine lived in the same apartment for over 7 decades, which they have now abandoned to be safe, and left behind all that my family has worked for a chance to survive. I am angry, scared, and I am grieving for my country, and for the good people who are needlessly suffering at the hands of criminals.
Helena, 18 ACT
Further isolation impact
I stand in solidarity with Ukraine, with the Ukrainian’s upholding democracy and their freedoms. The situation in the Ukraine, is troubling for me as a young person, as it makes me fearful for the future of the country. I also am fearful of whether this current conflict will result in a World War. The current situation in the Ukraine, is very uncertain and currently it feels as if those in Ukraine are taking each day as it comes. I support those who are in the Ukraine, standing up for what they believe in and are standing for peace in the nation.
In the future the impact that the Ukraine-Russian conflict will have on young people is particularly concerning. The impact that this war will have on their access to healthcare and education, can lead to poorer mental health and wellbeing and will have lifelong impacts. I also think it is important to note the impact that the crisis is having on those who are remaining in Ukraine/are unable to seek refuge, they are becoming isolated from the world. The impact that isolation can have on the mental health of an individual is well documented, and given the current situation in the Ukraine, with most people emotional vulnerability being heightened, the impact is only amplified.
It has been great to see the support that other countries have provided to the Ukraine, throughout the conflict, in the form of military support and refugee support. It would be great to have Australia continue their support for those who are seeking refuge in Australia and ensuring that those who are seeking refuge are provided with the necessary items to begin a life in Australia.
Madieson, 23 WA
Disbelief and disconnected
I’m still a bit in disbelief that the Ukraine/Russia war is happening, and even though it’s on the news every day, I feel a bit disconnected. While I’m feeling the impact that the war is having on the cost of living, because I don’t know anyone directly impacted in either countries, and also because Australia geographically is pretty isolated from the rest of the world, it just feels distant and surreal. The catastrophic warfare that’s taken so many lives is so incredibly heartbreaking that I find it hard to comprehend. I feel like there’s nothing I can do to help, and I think young people across Australia and the rest of the world are probably feeling a bit hopeless and disconnected too. With the bushfires, then the pandemic, then the floods, and now a war, it’s been a really tough few years and I’m feeling fatigued of all these awful things happening.
Crystal, 25 NSW