The psychological cost of war: day 28

23 October 2020

By Nane Vardanyan

2 min read

War situations give rise to a great number of psychological problems. Losing a dear person or realizing their lives are at risk, fleeing homes by taking absolutely nothing, changing the environment, and living with a sense of uncertainty and fear affects human psychology. Let alone, the sounds of explosion and siren stay with people of the warzone for a long time.

COAF’s Psychological Services Manager Tamara Harutyunyan has been working with families from rural Armenia and Artsakh affected by the crisis. Being in a complicated psychological state themselves, our psychologists showed support to the families since the beginning of the war.

Tamara, an engineer-constructor by her first profession, chose psychology as a second profession to build emotional safety among people. She has been working with COAF for 15 years and knows most of the COAF-beneficiary families who have lost someone dear during the war these days.

“I hate to say this, but I find myself thinking that I wish I had never known any of the soldiers who lost their lives protecting the Homeland. It was not the future we had imagined for them,” Tamara says with a heavy heart.

She was 22 and was just starting her career as a psychologist during the Liberation War of Artsakh in 1992. “History repeats itself. I used to work with mothers, wives, and kids of fallen soldiers back then as well,” recalls Tamara, who thinks the family stories are different in times of war, but they are interestingly alike as well – the pain of loss is the same.

Together with COAF’s psychologists, Tamara has met over 30 families from Artsakh who have settled in COAF beneficiary villages. They have left their thoughts, belongings, and loved ones in Artsakh. “My favorite thing about being a psychologist is helping people, but the hardest thing is that sometimes there are stories that stay with you for a while.”

The sense of helpfulness makes one stronger in critical situations like this. “Every day we should ask ourselves, “What can I do for myself and about the war? Despite the heavy grief, we should learn to live with the war. We must live and make others live. We should learn and help others to smile again.”

The diary of COAF Alumni in times of war

Every house has a story from Artsakh