Living in Finland

Cities

Mielenterveys
theme icon

Mental health

When to seek help?

Anyone in a challenging situation in life can be in need of help. Such situations may include, for example, moving to another country, problems at work, losing your job, family problems, divorce, the death of a loved one, illness or some other life change. 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.

linkkiKela:
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

linkkiMehiläinen:
Private clinicFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiTerveystalo:
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

The Crisis Helpline of the Finnish Association for Mental Health (Suomen Mielenterveysseura) offers help in the form of discussion for those in a crisis situation. You can also call the Crisis Helpline if you are worried about a family member.

You can call

  • in Finnish: 01019 5202, Mon–Fri from 9 am to 7 am, and on weekends and holidays from 3 pm to 7 am
  • in English and Arabic: 040 195 8202 Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri from 11 am to 3 pm and Wed from 6 pm to 10 pm

linkkiThe Finnish Association for Mental Health:
National Crisis HelplineFinnish | Swedish | English

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

linkkiMannerheim League for Child Welfare:
Support for parentsFinnish

Students

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

People who have experienced traumatic situations are at risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (traumaperäinen stressihäiriö).

Experiences that cause trauma include:

  • persecution and discrimination
  • imprisonment and torture
  • physical abuse and rape
  • witnessing violent situations
  • experiences of war

When suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, the person affected cannot help remembering the trauma in various situations, which causes severe anxiety. In these cases, it is important to get help. In addition to the actual victims, posttraumatic stress disorder affects those close to them. The majority of those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder can be cured with the right treatment.

The Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland (Kidutettujen kuntoutuskeskus) offers help for refugees and asylum seekers who have been tortured in their home countries. You can contact the centre on weekdays between 8.30 am and 1.30 pm. The phone number is (09) 7750 4584.

linkkiHelsinki Deaconess Institute:
The Centre for Torture Survivors in FinlandFinnish | 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

On the website of the Finnish Association for Mental Health you can find information about:

  • difficult life situations
  • mental health problems
  • crises
  • how to get help
  • how to come through your problems

Information is provided in Finnish, English, Kurdish (Sorani), Russian and Somali.

linkkiThe Finnish Association of Mental Heath:
Information on mental healthFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Somali | Arabic | Kurdish