Young depressed man. LEHTIKUVA

Health & wellbeing

Pori Club house, a crucial support center for individuals dealing with mental health challenges, faces the possibility of closing its doors as early as October due to the lack of a partnership agreement with the Satakunta well-being region. Additionally, the well-being regions of Central Uusimaa and Kainuu are considering cuts to the funding of Club houses.

Club houses are inclusive communities formed by individuals with mental health challenges and trained staff.

They facilitate recovery and promote job and educational readiness through peer support and personalized guidance.

Before the restructuring of social and healthcare services, Club houses collaborated with municipalities. However, they are now primarily partnered with well-being regions in most areas.

"We have put in significant effort to bring people back to Club house and support their recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, all our efforts seem to be in vain because the Satakunta well-being region has not allocated the promised funding for this year to Club house, and there is no funding in sight for next year either," said Annika Häggqvist, Director of Porin Club house.

Around 200 individuals dealing with mental health issues participate in Porin Club house's activities. "They are now left without support because there is no alternative service available. Our operation is non-profit and complementary to other social and healthcare services; it does not compete with them. Our services have been proven effective in improving well-being and employability," Häggqvist explained.

According to her, the Satakunta well-being region acknowledges the significance of Club houses' activities. Simultaneously, it recognizes that well-being services will face increased demand if Club house closes.

"Although we have been promised funding, no decisions have been made, and there is no information available about next year. Reasons cited include resource shortages and communication issues," Häggqvist stated.

In Central Uusimaa, Club houses face potential cuts of 20 percent for the coming year. Kainuu's well-being region (formerly Kainuu Sote) has significantly reduced grants for four consecutive years.

Päijät-Häme's well-being region is also contemplating cuts to Lahden Club house for the next year.

If implemented, these cuts will have a significant impact on the functioning of these support centers and may further undermine the position of individuals seeking mental health support.

"At Club houses, members, i.e., individuals in recovery, play a central role. Members and staff collaborate in planning and executing activities. Individuals in recovery have the right to a meaningful life and participation in building it. This is a fundamental human rights issue," said Petra Nummelin, Chair of the Mental Health Pool.

Club houses and other mental health organizations are also threatened by cuts to grants outlined in the government program.

"It is clear that Club houses and other organizations not only contribute to well-being but also provide economic benefits. Mental health disorders already cost Finland 11 billion euros annually. This amount will not decrease if the operating conditions of these organizations are undermined," Nummelin emphasized.