A woman at home. LEHTIKUVA

Health & wellbeing

In Finland, private healthcare facilities are reporting a significant increase in mental health-related visits, with a notably higher proportion of women seeking help for depression and anxiety. This trend reflects the growing mental health challenges faced by individuals across all ages and genders, although women seem to be disproportionately affected.

Terveystalo, a leading healthcare provider in Finland, is actively participating in a campaign that focuses on the escalating performance pressures faced by women.

These pressures, stemming from societal expectations, social media portrayals of a 'perfect' life, and family responsibilities, are contributing to heightened levels of anxiety and stress, especially among young women.

The Finnish capital, Helsinki, is symbolically addressing this issue by erecting a new statue, 'Tavis Amanda,' during the mental health week observed from November 19 to 26. This statue, a temporary replacement for the iconic 'Havis Amanda' during its restoration, is strategically placed at Kauppatori (Market Square) to spark conversations about the increasing mental health problems and the performance pressures particularly experienced by young women.

Tuija Turunen, the leading psychologist and psychotherapist at Terveystalo, emphasizes the importance of self-compassion in today’s world where being ordinary is no longer the norm. She points out that societal, media, and familial pressures are contributing to increased anxiety and appearance-related stress, regardless of gender. However, women, who often face additional pressures in managing work and family life, are more likely to seek professional help, thus highlighting their struggles more prominently.

According to Terveystalo's data, there has been a 36.5% increase in visits related to anxiety and depression diagnoses since the beginning of the 2020s. Women account for more than double these diagnoses compared to men, with their share at about 68% versus men's 32%.

This situation is compounded by the World Health Organization's warning, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, that the next global crisis would be a mental health crisis. The pandemic's isolation measures have accelerated this, leaving many to cope with their feelings and thoughts alone.

Suomen Mielenterveys ry (Finnish Mental Health Association) reported a record 400,000 call attempts to their crisis hotline last year, with anxiety being the most common reason for calls. Notably, suicidal tendencies are most prevalent among women aged 18 to 29.

In response to these growing concerns, the Tavis Amanda statue, designed by illustrator Sanna Mander and crafted by Maker3D and Fantasia Works, stands as a reminder of the value of ordinariness for mental health. This statue, representing an ordinary woman without the burden of performance pressures, symbolizes the acceptance of less striving in life. This initiative is supported by Terveystalo, alongside UN Women Finland, MeNaiset magazine, and Salutorget restaurant.

Tavis Amanda, located at the corner of Sofiankatu and Pohjoisesplanadi in Helsinki, greets passersby, including guests attending the Independence Day celebrations at the Presidential Palace, with a relaxed demeanor, underscoring the message that ordinary is enough.