When to seek help?
Difficult life situations may include, for example, moving to another country, problems at work or losing your job. Family problems, divorce, the death of a loved one, illness or some other life change may be crises where you need help. A positive event, such as the birth of a child, can also change your life so much that you need support in the new situation. Sometimes you only start to feel bad afterwards, when some time has passed after the difficult experience and your life has settled.
You should seek help if you have the following symptoms:
- lack of appetite
- your daily life feels depressing
- you do not feel like going to work or meeting people
- physical symptoms with no medical reasons
- your use of alcohol or other intoxicants has increased
It is not rare for people to seek help for their mental health. In Finland, 20 per cent of people suffer from depression at some point in their lives.
Where to seek help?
It often helps to talk about these things with family and friends. Occasionally, professional help is also needed. With a nurse or doctor, you can discuss what kind of support would suit you best.
Therapy, medication or a combination of these is often a good remedy. Sometimes hospital treatment is necessary.
If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, please contact your local health centre. If you need help quickly, say so on the phone. When necessary, the doctor will write you a referral to the psychiatric outpatient clinic or another mental health unit. You cannot go directly to an outpatient clinic without a referral from a doctor.
You can talk to a health care professional, such as a doctor or nurse, in confidence. They are under the obligation of secrecy. This means that they will not reveal your affairs to other authorities. If some other health care specialist needs your details, you will be asked for your permission to give them.
Your local health centre will provide you with more accurate information about the way mental health services are organised in your locality.
If you are worried about a family member and you think they might need help, you can ask, for example, a nurse or doctor at a health centre for advice.
Private mental health services
You can also make an appointment at a private clinic for a psychiatrist or psychologist. It is sometimes possible to get an appointment there faster, but it is considerably more expensive for the customer.
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) pays part of the expenses of private health care, if you are covered by Finnish national health insurance. Ask for more information at Kela.
Sometimes Kela’s reimbursement can be deducted directly from the sum you pay at the cash desk. Take along the certificate that states that you are covered by the Finnish national health insurance. You can also apply for reimbursement from Kela afterwards.
For more information about Finnish national health insurance, go to the InfoFinland web page Finnish social security.
When you need help urgently
If you feel that you need help urgently, you can contact your nearest duty health centre or hospital. The emergency units of psychiatric hospitals offer urgent psychiatric hospital care.
If your family member is a danger to themselves or others and they refuse to see a doctor, you can call a health centre or hospital yourself. If help is needed fast, say so on the phone. If you fear that your family member will hurt themselves, mention this too.
If your family member is in very bad condition and needs acute psychiatric hospital care, they may be referred to treatment even if they do not want it themselves. A doctor’s referral to coercive treatment (pakkohoitolähete) is required for this. If someone’s life is in immediate danger, you can call the emergency number 112. Please do not call the emergency number if the situation is non-urgent.
Help by phone
Crisis helpline in in different languages:
- Finnish: 09 2525 0111
- Swedish: 09 2525 0112
- English: 09 2525 0113
- Arabic: 09 2525 0113
- Ukrainian: 09 2525 0114
- Russian: 09 2525 0115
The crisis helpline of MIELI Mental Health Finland provides immediate discussion therapy for people facing a crisis and those close to them. The calls are taken by crisis workers and trained volunteer support persons. You do not have to give your name when calling. You can call the crisis helpline to talk about an unexpected event or difficult situation in your life in a permissive and supportive environment.
Children and young people
If your child is in a situation where his/her mental health is under strain, you can contact your local Family Advice Centre (perheneuvola) There your child’s situation will be charted so that he/she can be given exactly the kind of help needed. You can also make an appointment with a psychologist at a child health clinic (lastenneuvola) or a doctor at your local health centre. If your child is of school age, you can contact the school psychologist or school doctor.
If you are a young person, you can talk about your difficult issues, for example, with your school nurse, school doctor, school psychologist or school welfare officer. You can also contact your local health centre. A doctor can write you a referral to a youth psychiatric clinic (nuorisopsykiatrian poliklinikka), if necessary.
Mannerheim League for Child WelfareYouth netLink redirects to another website
Mannerheim League for Child WelfareSupport for parentsLink redirects to another website
The health care services of educational establishments organise mental health services for students.
Occupational health care services
If you have a job, you can talk to an occupational doctor about things that concern your mental health. In occupational health care there may also be a possibility to see a psychologist.
If you have had severe traumatic experiences, it is important to seek help. Traumatic experiences may include persecution, discrimination, violence, rape, war or torture. Such experiences may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. It means that the person affected cannot help remembering the trauma in various situations, which causes severe anxiety.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be cured and you can get help with it. Contact your local health centre and tell your doctor about your situation. When necessary, the doctor will write you a referral to the psychiatric outpatient clinic (psykiatrian poliklinikka) or another mental health unit.
If you have come to Finland as a refugee, you can also receive help to recover from difficult experiences at the Centre for Psychotraumatology. The centre is part of the activities of the Helsinki Deaconess Institute, and the services are free of charge to the customer. They have special services for those who have been tortured. Psychotherapy, for example, can be used. First, you need a referral from your own health centre. Your doctor will consult with an expert from the Centre for Psychotraumatology and agree further action.
Helsinki Deaconess InstituteCentre for PsychotraumatologyLink redirects to another website
Tays Central Hospital in TampereInformation on post-traumatic stress disorderLink redirects to another website
If it is difficult for you to study or work due to mental health problems, you can apply for financial support for psychotherapy from Kela. This is called rehabilitation psychotherapy.
First, contact a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will assess whether rehabilitation psychotherapy will help you to regain your ability to study or work again. Once you have received at least three months of treatment, the psychiatrist will provide you with a written statement. You will need this statement when applying for rehabilitation psychotherapy from Kela.
Rehabilitation psychotherapy can be individual therapy, group therapy, art therapy, family therapy or couples psychotherapy. For persons between 16 and 25 years of age, it can also take the form of music therapy. The therapy of a young person can include visits by the parents.
Support for therapy can be granted for one year at a time for a maximum of three years. Therapy expenses are recompensed for a maximum of 80 sessions a year and up to 200 sessions in three years.
Kela’s psychotherapy can be provided by a therapist whose education has been approved by Valvira. The therapist must also have the right to use the professional title of psychotherapist.
Mental health courses
In addition to rehabilitation psychotherapy, Kela organises group rehabilitation for mental health disorders. Kela’s rehabilitation courses are intended for all who have been recommended rehabilitation in health care.
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, KelaRehabilitation psychotherapyLink redirects to another website
Information about mental health online in different languages
The MIELI Mental Health Finland (MIELI Suomen Mielenterveys ry) website contains information about
- difficult life situations
- mental health problems
- how to get help
- how to come through your problems