If you are worried about your mental health or that of a loved one, this page will help you discover where and how to seek help. We have compiled the key support channels in Finland as well as information on the usual steps in the care pathway.
If you are constantly in low spirits or unsatisfied with your life, experience excessive anxiety or fear, suffer from chronic insomnia or physical symptoms with no apparent reason, you may be in need of help.
When it comes to mental health, do not wait too long to ask for help. If you feel like you could use support with a problem or symptoms, no matter how minor they may seem, do not hesitate to seek help.
Seeking help starts with talking to someone. If you have no one to talk to in your own network, you can call our counselling service or write in our Valoa chatroom. An expert will help you get started with working through your problems and offer a helping hand when you need someone to talk to.
Seeking help online
Online tests can help you identify symptoms and their severity and, if necessary, guide you to the start of your care pathway. However, only a physician can properly diagnose your symptoms.
The internet offers various self-care guidelines for symptoms of depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as for improving mental well-being.
Online therapy has been found to be an effective treatment for mild and moderate mental health problems. You can contact a general practitioner at your nearest health centre, for example, for a referral to online therapy.
Primary source of care
As with any health issues, you can seek help for your mental health problems at your local health centre. Visit the website of your municipality to find the contact information for booking an appointment.
You can also seek help at a private health clinic, occupational health care services or student health care services, if available.
If you are experiencing a crisis or suffering from mild or moderate depression, anxiety, insomnia or exhaustion, a psychiatric nurse’s service may help. The service is provided in cooperation with a health centre or a private health clinic, a physician and possibly a psychiatrist.
Short-term psychotherapy, offered in occupational health care services as acute treatment, for example, may be effective.
In the mental health treatment of adults (those over the age of 23), the same waiting-time limits apply as in any other medical care. According to the statutory maximum waiting-time guarantee, a health centre must provide treatment within three months. The guarantee also applies to specialised health care in severe health problems.
If you cannot wait
Health centres and hospitals have emergency units for urgent care. Larger municipalities offer 24/7 psychiatric emergency services.
If you believe you might need urgent care, please call the Medical Helpline 116 117 (the call is free of charge). You will be guided to the correct care unit and the urgency of your need for care is assessed.
If self-care is sufficient for your situation, you will receive instructions over the phone, free of charge. The Medical Helpline is available 24/7.
If the emergency is life-threatening, please call the emergency number 112.
Continued treatment and psychotherapy
The recommended treatment for depression and anxiety, for example, is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. The more severe the depression or other mental health diagnosis, the more vital the role of medication. Medication is also often prescribed if the patient has been unfit for work for longer than two months.
A patient on medication requires follow-up at least every 1–3 weeks. When treating depression, for example, the medication must be changed if the patient does not respond to the treatment within 6–12 weeks.
Treatment is always primarily provided in basic health care services. Outpatient care services are provided at psychiatric clinics for longer periods of treatment and more severe mental health problems. A physician’s referral is required.
Kela (the Social Insurance Institution of Finland) funds rehabilitative psychotherapy for patients given a psychiatrist’s referral, also known as medical certificate B. Previous treatment is a prerequisite for receiving the rehabilitation allowance. The psychotherapists are usually private service providers sought out by the customer. The Kela allowance is subject to a deductible, meaning that the customer may be liable to pay part of the fee.
In psychological disorders, peer support plays a vital role in recovery and rehabilitation. Instead of struggling alone, it is important to share your thoughts with others who have been through similar experiences.
You can find peer support and discussion groups at the Finnish Association of Mental Health as well as various organisations and associations across Finland.
Counselling services of the Finnish Central Association for Mental Health:
- Professionals are available in the Valoa chatroom of the Finnish Central Association for Mental Health on weekdays from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The Finnish-language peer support chatroom is open on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- The Finnish Central Association for Mental Health also offers a professional helpline on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – call 0203 91920 (8.35 cents per call + 16.69 cents per minute). The Finnish-language peer support helpline is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – call 0800 177599.
Where to find help:
- Health centre
In acute mental health or substance abuse issues, please contact your health centre. In addition to doctors, there are nurses specialising in the prevention and treatment of mental health problems and substance abuse at health centres.
- Medical Helpline 116 117
If you believe you may need urgent care, please call the Medical Helpline 116 117.
The Medical Helpline is a counselling and guidance service for social welfare and health care. At the moment, the Medical Helpline is available in nearly all of the hospital districts and will soon cover all of Finland.
The Medical Helpline is available 24/7. In an emergency, please call the emergency number 112. https://116117.fi/
Emergencyhub.fi is an online service developed by health care professionals to offer help in acute health issues, advice for self-care and guidance for urgent care.
- Mental Hub
Mental Hub offers information, guidelines and online therapy which is available with a physician’s referral regardless of your location. The service also helps you find your nearest 24/7 services if you need urgent help.
Some useful links:
- Information for immigrants
- Kela’s Centre for International Affairs
- City of Helsinki, The Immigration Unit
- Deaconess Foundation, Centre for Psychotraumatology
- The Helsinki Deaconess Institute’s Unprotected community project for the undocumented people.
Health care professionals are required to communicate with the patient about their health and treatment options in a comprehensible manner. If the professional and the patient do not speak the same language, an interpreter must be used, if possible. The authorities are responsible for ordering the interpretation services. In addition to on-site interpretation, remote interpretation can be used. Kela customers are entitled to free-of-charge interpretation if they cannot use the services using their native language and are unable to find a common language with the staff member.