Public services

Emergency public mental health services

Mental Health Emergency: If you or someone close to you is in acute need of mental health services i.e. imminent suicidal or imminent threat of harm to self or others then present at your nearest Accident and Emergency “Päivystys” department with an 24 hour on-duty psychiatrist.

If the person close to you is unwilling to go to hospital, then call the emergency services on 112 and explain the situation to them.

Päivystys (Emergency Rooms) in the Helsinki region with 24 hour on-duty psychiatrists:

NB A Child (16 and under) in Helsinki should be taken to the Children’s hospital (see link above)

Päivystys (Emergency Rooms) in the Espoo region with 24 hour on-duty psychiatrists:

Päivystys (Emergency Rooms) in the Vantaa region with 24 hour on-duty psychiatrists:

Non-Emergency Mental Health Care

Accessing help for mental health conditions in Finland through the public health system

If you or someone close to you is suffering with mental health difficulties e.g. burn-out anxiety, depression, OCD and eating disorder etc and the problem is not acute, then in the first instance you should make an appointment at your local Health Centre. This can be done by telephone or by using the Maisa App (NB Espoo do not currently use Maisa).

Tell the doctor how you or your loved one is feeling, how long the symptoms have been persisting and how this is affecting your/their everyday life and functioning. NB In Finland it is important not to hold-back and to be totally honest and upfront e.g. don’t downplay symptoms. Your doctor will ask you to fill in some screening forms and according to the scores on these and what they hear from you, they may refer you to meet your Health Centre Psychologist and/or prescribe you medication. If you are still experiencing difficulties and feel these interventions have not worked, your doctor may refer to a psychiatrist, who can after meeting you twice over a three-month period, refer you for KELA subsidised psychotherapy. (NB You can also get a referral for KELA therapy by seeing a psychiatrist in the private sector) If your doctor deems your difficulties to be more acute public mental health/psychiatric outpatient or inpatient clinic. The wait-time for these clinics can be up to three months depending on the severity of your symptoms.

In some circumstances, your the public health services can give you a voucher for 20 sessions with a psychotherapist (“ostopalvelut”). You can choose who you would like to see when going to a private service, and in Finland it is very common to visit a few different therapists before finding the one you would like to stay with.

NB There are separate tertiary clinics for children, adolescents and adults and also specialist clinics for Eating Disorders. If your child or adolescent is suffering with mental health difficulties you can either follow the route above or contact your child’s school nurse, school psychologist or koulukuraattori (community counsellor). Children and young people may also refer themselves to these school professionals. These school professionals can offer some sessions to your child, and they can also help to refer your child to hospital mental health services if they deem this to be necessary.

What is KELA-subsidised psychotherapy?

What is KELA subsidised Psychotherapy?:

If a Psychiatrist or Psychiatric nurse at the Health Station assesses that your difficulties are chronic in nature and are affecting your ability to work and function in everyday life they may refer you for therapy with a trained Psychotherapist. A psychiatrist will need to see you twice over a three-month period to refer you for KELA subsidised therapy.

You can also see a psychiatrist privately (e.g. through Mehilainen, Terveystalo, Aava etc) for 2 sessions to secure “KELA therapy”. After filling in the necessary forms KELA should subdise your therapy fees by approximately 60%. Your psychiatrist will recommend what type of psychotherapy would be best for you and your symptoms e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Integrative, CAT (KAT), Psychoanalysis or other “Individual Psychotherapy”. Also, the professional can recommend Family or Couple Therapy. The “type” of psychotherapy is specified in the referral that the Psychiatrist makes, and the client needs to present in KELA.

You can find a suitable psychotherapist on a search engine like “Minduu.” You can visit a few psychotherapists before deciding who to work with. It is important to find the right match and somebody that you feel completely comfortable working with. You can receive KELA subsidised therapy for up to 3 years (generally 2 years).

Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital (HUS) Region: There is the option of short term (20-25 sessions) Psychotherapy through private providers registered in this service (Palse):

Neuvola - Child and Maternity Health services in Finland

Most health centres in Finland also have a Neuvola service. Neuvola nurses are public health nurses who give free advice, care and consultation on contraception, pregnancy and small child (0-6) health issues and development. If you become pregnant, you should register with your local Neuvola service for care throughout your pregnancy. Your child will then be offered free health care appointments, health-checks and childhood vaccinations until they are 6, at which point your child’s school nurse and doctor takes over care. If you have just arrived in Finland with a child aged 6 or under, you should contact your local Neuvola service to get your child’s first free Neuvola consultation. Bring your child’s health records to this appointment. If you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s development, you should tell your Neuvola nurse about your concerns. NB Childhood vaccinations are not compulsory in Finland, although highly recommended. Further links: Helsinki Espoo: Vantaa: Kauniainen:

Perheneuvola - family support services

Family life can be tough sometimes. Raising small children is a hard job and knowing how to deal with teenagers can be a difficult task. As well as this, marriages and partnerships can break-down or a partner may become abusive or use intoxicants. These difficulties can be especially difficult to navigate in a different country and culture and it is easy to become isolated. If you are experiencing any of these difficulties you should approach your local health centre’s Perheneuvola service, who offer parenting support and family counselling services. Y our child’s Neuvola or School Nurse, Psychologist or Community Counselor (Koulukuratori) may also suggest Perheneuvola to you.

Immediate help for children and young people

MIEPPI: Low threshold therapy for young people:

Services in English, Russian, Somali and with translators. Walk-in sessions and immediate help provided.

Social Services

Social Services in Finland recognise that family life can be hard and offer all sorts of support services to help families. You can refer yourself to Social Services or ask the Neuvola or school professionals above to help you with this process.

In Finland there is also a Child Protection/Welfare branch of Social Services known as Lastensuojelu. If you are concerned about child abuse (physical or sexual) or child negelct (your own family or another family) this agency can intervene.

If a school, daycare or neuvola professional becomes concerned about child abuse or neglect, they may also contact Lastensuojelu on your behalf, although they should always discuss this with you first (unless they deem this conversation unsafe or too risky for the child’s welfare). In Finland it is illegal to spank, hit or slap a child in any way and these actions are deemed as child abuse and are reported (by the above professionals) to Lastensuojelu and the police. Sexual abuse is also illegal in Finland and the age of sexual consent is 16. Sex with somebody under this age, even with verbal consent, is considered as child abuse.

Contacting child protection services in Finland

Contacting Child Protection Services/Lastensuojelu: If you live in Helsinki, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Kerava you can make your report to Child Protection Services using Maisa.

On the front page of the Maisa website click “Submit a Social Care Notification” and then scroll down and click the municipality that the child lives in. Maisa – Login Page For crisis requiring Child Protection after 4pm in Helsinki call: 0206 96006 If you live in Espoo, you can fill in this form (only in Finnish or Swedish) Child welfare notification | City of Espoo