ORLANDO, FLa. – One faculty member at UCF said when Russia invaded Ukraine, she wanted to do something and help the people there on the ground.
Dr. Gulnora Hundley works in the Counselor Education Program at UCF and is making it her mission to give back - and even use her experience as a Russian speaker to better connect with therapists over in Ukraine.
She’s been spending her free time helping other mental health professionals in the form of free group therapy session online every Saturday via telehealth. It’s for those working on the ground, including at refugee camps in Kyiv, Poland and other places near Ukraine. Each session lasts about 2.5 hours.
“The helper in me of course had that thought - that maybe I can help somebody,” said Dr. Hundley. “One lady I think she was from Donetsk, and the entire group session she was in a bathtub, because the bathtub was the safest place.”
The UCF associate lecturer, who also has her own private therapy practice, said she wanted to give the mental health professionals a safe space too, by providing resources and ways to better cope with trauma.
“They talked about grief and loss about losing loved ones,” said Dr. Hundley. “Some of them say ‘I have my parents and they are elderly I can’t leave them, some said my husband is here fighting I cannot leave him.”
Dr. Hundley is from Uzbekistan, formerly part of the Soviet Union, and said her desire to help all started online.
“A lot of Ukrainian counselors were posting messages on Facebook saying we need help,” said Dr. Hundley.
That help later turned into action when she stepped up and offered to do free tele-health sessions.
“I have a feeling it will be happening for some time, and I’ll be glad to do that,” said Dr. Hundley.
Dr. Hundley told News 6 that she will be hosting a group session in April assist psychologists who work for the Ukrainian psychological crisis hotline and another 10 to 15 psychologists who work for the Military Hospitals.
Read more about Dr. Hundley here.