Vita Baidyk

Vita Baidyk

Psychological help, provided in a timely manner, enables people to understand their situations and become more resilient to stress.

Country: Ukraine 
Job title: Trainer 
Organization: Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation 
Sector: Early Childhood Education 
Years of experience in her role: 20 years 


In this interview, Vita Baidyk, a trainer from the Ukrainian Step by Step Foundation, shares insights from her participation in the training “Foundational psychological first aid (PFA) and trauma-informed practices for young children and their caregivers” hosted by the International Step by Step Association (ISSA). 

The program is designed to empower master trainers with comprehensive knowledge in Psychological First Aid (PFA), enabling them to subsequently train early childhood professionals supporting young children and their families in Ukraine, including those displaced by ongoing conflict. 

Read on to learn Vita’s perspective on the critical role of her work, the importance of self-care among professionals, and effective strategies for interacting with these vulnerable groups in a manner that is both inclusive and empathetic. 

Why is it important to train ECEC professionals in psychological first aid (PFA)? How is the training used and what good does it do? 
Being able to provide psychological first aid is important and especially needed in times of war. The knowledge and skills learned in this training make it easier to support yourself and the people around you. In this way we can expand the circle of people who are able to help themselves and those around them. Psychological help, provided in a timely manner, enables people to understand their situations and become more resilient to stress. 

What have you discovered about yourself personally and as a professional delivering the training on PFA, and/or while practicing what you learned from the training (with children, their families, and your co-workers)? 
I have discovered that my work is extremely important and relevant, and that I have important skills and abilities and should share them. 

Have you trained other workers besides those in early childhood education? Did they find it helpful? 
Yes, I have trained teachers, heads of educational institutions, and parents as they also need certain knowledge. Training them was definitely a useful experience. 

How is this training useful for professionals working with children and families in distress? 
This training has helped us to understand the current situation of refugees and displaced persons, to help them feel cared for and supported. In our work we try to improve their situation by helping them adapt to a new reality, by listening to their needs and requests. 

Many professionals working with mental health face stigma. Do you experience this? How do you handle it? 
Yes, some people consider turning to professionals who work with mental health as a weakness or do not think that they have a problem and rely only on themselves. But recently more people are seeking mental health support, thanks to increased understanding, psychoeducation, more accessible information, and increased personal awareness. 

Are there other concerns or challenges that you encounter in your work at the moment?
Sometimes it can be emotionally draining. It's important to take the time that you need to recharge through peace and quiet time. 

What would you say to your co-workers who are unsure about joining a PFA training? 
Learning is useful and provides new opportunities. 

What message do you want to send to your co-workers who currently promote PFA and trauma-informed practices?
Firstly, not everyone is traumatised. Secondly, it's important to remember that everyone experiences their trauma differently and requires different approaches and time for their recovery. There's no one-size fits all approach to recovering from trauma. 

What message do you want to send to the children and families in distress that you are working with?
We should only worry about what we can change. Everything else will happen regardless of whether we fear it or not, so don't waste your time and resources worrying about what cannot be changed.

You can learn more about Ukrainian Step by Step's work on their website.