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Mental health

Anyone can need help in a difficult life situation. Do not be left alone with problems. In Finland, help is offered, for example, by health centres and outpatient psychiatric clinics, as well as by private therapists and doctors.

When to seek help?

Difficult life situations may sometimes 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:

  • insomnia
  • 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.

linkkiThe City of Tampere:
Depression(pdf, 110,37 kt)Finnish | English | Russian | French | Somali | Turkish | Persian | Arabic | Kurdish | Albanian | Vietnamese | Burmese | Bosnian | Serbian | Swahili

Where to seek help?

Often it helps just to talk about things with family and friends, but sometimes more help is needed. Talking to a public health nurse (terveydenhoitaja), doctor (lääkäri) or psychotherapist (psykoterapeutti) may help. Together you can discuss what kind of support would suit you best.

Therapy, medication or both are often a good remedy. Sometimes hospital treatment is necessary. Hospital treatment usually takes some weeks. The goal is for the patient to be able to return home as soon as possible. After that, treatment will continue in an out-patient clinic.

If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, contact your local health centre (terveysasema) first. Health centres are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. Call the health centre first thing in the morning and make an appointment. If you need help quickly, say so on the phone. When necessary, the doctor will write you a referral to the psychiatric out-patient clinic (psykiatrian poliklinikka) or another mental health unit. You cannot go directly to an out-patient clinic without a referral from a doctor.

You can talk to a doctor or psychologist in confidence, because they are bound to secrecy. They will not reveal your affairs to other authorities. If some other health care unit 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.

For more information about various problem situations, go to the InfoFinland web page Problem situations.

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Mental health servicesFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

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.

Reimbursements of the costs of private medical treatmentFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiTherapion Consulting:
Private online psychotherapy servicesFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | French | Spanish | Turkish | Chinese | German | Portuguese | Norwegian | Dutch | Japanese | Italian | Danish

Private clinicFinnish | Swedish | English

Private clinicFinnish | Swedish | English

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 Finnish: 09 2525 0111

Crisis helpline in Swedish: 09 2525 0112

Crisis helpline in Arabic: 09 2525 0113. You can also call in English.

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.

linkkiMIELI Mental Health Finland:
National Crisis HelplineFinnish | Swedish | English | Arabic

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. For more information about the kind of help provided for children in problem situations, go to the InfoFinland web page Where to find help for children's and young people's problems?

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. For more information about the help provided for young persons in problem situations, go to the InfoFinland web page Where to find help for children's and young people's problems?

linkkiMannerheim League for Child Welfare:
Youth netFinnish | Swedish

linkkiMannerheim League for Child Welfare:
Support for parentsFinnish | Swedish


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.

Traumatic experiences

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.

linkkiHelsinki Deaconess Institute:
Centre for PsychotraumatologyFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe City of Tampere:
Information on post-traumatic stress disorderFinnish | English | Russian | French | Somali | Turkish | Persian | Arabic | Kurdish | Albanian | Vietnamese | Burmese | Bosnian | Serbian | Swahili

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
  • crises
  • how to get help
  • how to come through your problems

linkkiMIELI Mental Health Finland:
Information on mental healthFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Somali | Arabic | Kurdish