According to a recent survey by the Finnish Association for Mental Health (Mieli), one in ten Finns aged 18–34 has seriously considered committing suicide during the past year.
Additionally, two out of five young adults has contemplated suicide at some point during their lifetime. The survey, which included respondents from various age brackets, found that the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected low income groups; that is, those that earn less than 30,000 euros a year. Several young adults fall in this category.
Almost one in three Finns said they felt the pandemic has adversely affected their mental health, while one in five revealed that they have occasionally had suicidal thoughts.
Marena Kukkonen, head of Mieli’s suicide prevention centre, told MTV that suicidal thoughts do not necessarily indicate that the person is in immediate danger of ending their own life, but it is important to recognise and identify them nonetheless.
Nearly 40 per cent of respondents in the survey said they had not sought help for suicidal thoughts. According to Kukkonen, young people might have to wait for a referral to a psychiatrist for several months, and gaining access to treatment may take even longer.
Long waiting lists and a rising demand for mental health care before the COVID-19 crisis, along with the discontinuation of peer support groups due to restrictions, has reportedly exacerbated the problem.
However, the survey also found that the willingness to seek help for mental health issues has increased significantly, especially among young adults. Additionally, despite an increase in suicidal thoughts, preliminary data suggests that there hasn’t been a rise in the number of suicides during the pandemic.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can reach out to Mieli via their Crisis Helpline (available in English and Arabic) and other services here.