The stress experienced by Finns can be seen in the increased number of calls to the Crisis Helpline. This summer, the helpline's resources were enhanced, and the number of calls answered was higher than ever before. The Crisis Helpline will open Ukrainian- and Russian-language helplines in September.
The number of people trying to get through to the Crisis Helpline of MIELI Mental Health Finland is constantly rising.
In July, another record number of calls were placed, a total of nearly 35,000. According to the Crisis Helpline Manager Susanna Winter, more than 30,000 people have tried to get through every month since November 2021.
"The triple threat still has an impact, but also the fact that there has been a lot of discussion about mental health challenges and where to get help. Fortunately, through donations, we have been able to increase the number of crisis workers during the summer, which is why we have been able to answer more calls," Winter says.
In June–July 2022, more than 17,000 calls were answered by the Crisis Helpline, which is twice as many as the summer before the pandemic.
The number of men calling is growing
Men also seem to have found the Crisis Helpline better than before. In June–July, there were over 1,000 more calls from men than in the summer a couple of years ago. For a long time, most of the callers have been young women, but now the proportion of young men has grown.
"Usually, one in three of those who call the Crisis Helpline are men. We have tried to increase awareness among men of counselling and lower the threshold for making contact in a crisis situation," Winter says.
The most common reason for calling the Crisis Helpline in all age groups is feeling mentally unwell, especially due to anxiety. Other issues that come up for the Crisis Helpline include relationship problems, loneliness and self-harm. During the summer, breaks in services due to many professionals taking holidays increase stress for many.
Ukrainian- and Russian-language helplines open in September
So far, the Crisis Helpline has operated in four different languages: Finnish, Swedish, Arabic and English. The Crisis Helpline will also open Ukrainian- and Russian-language helplines on Friday, 2 September. Both helplines will be open for four hours on working days.
Due to Russia's war of aggression, about 35,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Finland. MIELI Mental Health Finland wants to offer to them counselling in their own native language. The Russian-language helpline has been planned for a long time as Russian is the most common foreign language in Finland.
"The goal is to make it as easy as possible for a person experiencing a crisis to make contact. In a challenging life situation, it is important to be able to express yourself in your native language without an interpreter," says Julia Bagrova, the specialist operating the new helplines.
The Ukrainian-language helpline offers help via telephone on 09 2525 0114, and Russian-language helpline on 09 2525 0115. The Crisis Helpline offers help in Arabic and English via telephone on 09 2525 0113 and the Finnish-language helpline 24 hours a day on 09 2525 0111. The MIELI Mental Health Finland's Crisis Helpline is aimed at all people in crisis who live in Finland. In addition to the Crisis Helpline, MIELI Mental Health Finland offers face-to-face and online counselling at 22 crisis centres around Finland.
Source: MIELI Mental Health Finland