New mental health strategy to bolster future mental health policy
The National Mental Health Strategy includes five focus areas and will lay the foundation for the mental health policy of the coming years. The strategy was published on 11 February, when the expert group chaired by Professor Sami Pirkola submitted the strategy to Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru.
Five mental health policy priorities and proposals to achieve them have been selected for the strategy. The strategy also covers addiction services and takes into account preventive substance abuse work. It also includes a suicide prevention programme.
The mental health strategy emphasises the continuity, goal orientation and timeliness of mental health policies and measures beyond government periods. Each government will select its practical measures in mental health work for each term.
The strategy includes five focus areas: mental health as capital, building the mental health of children and young people, mental health rights, appropriate and extensive services, and good mental health management.
Strategy to be implemented as part of the Future Health and Social Services Centres programme.
Measures consistent with the objectives of the National Mental Health Strategy will be implemented, among other things, as part of the Future Health and Social Services Centres programme.
The programme will improve the availability of psychotherapies and preventive and therapeutic psychosocial interventions in primary health care. In addition, the cooperation structure of primary health care and specialised medical care will be strengthened to improve the detection of mental disorders so that support or treatment can be started early.
A part of the funding for the implementation of the mental health strategy will be allocated to improving employment-oriented mental health services, increasing mental health skills in municipalities and preventing suicides.
Methods suitable for the prevention and treatment of the most common mental health disorders will be introduced in student welfare services.
Aiming at good mental health will benefit the people and Finland overall
The first priority of the mental health strategy stresses the impact of mental health on everything: health, wellbeing, studies, work and life in general. People’s good mental health supports the success of Finland as a whole: mental health is capital that should be taken care of and invested in.
The second priority has been selected, because the conditions prevalent during a person’s childhood and adolescence significantly influence their mental health. The building blocks for good mental health are laid in early childhood.
The third focus area centres on combatting prejudices, discrimination, misunderstandings and polarisation. Mental health services must pay particular attention to the realisation of mental health rights.
The fourth priority stresses the importance of broad-based and coordinated services that correspond to people’s needs. Early access to services should be ensured and family members should be taken into better consideration in the planning of services.
Finally, as highlighted in the fifth priority, it is important to guide and manage mental health work systematically as a whole, thereby crossing administrative boundaries. Management must also be based on the best available information.
Attention should be paid to monitoring the implementation of the strategy.
The mental health strategy has been prepared by an expert group appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in broad cooperation with various stakeholders since autumn of 2018.
The expert group included both service system experts and mental health organisations. During the preparation, the expert group held a number of consultations and requested comments on the proposal. Based on the feedback, the expert group specified the strategy.
The Government supports the implementation of the mental health strategy by drawing up a government resolution.
Helena Vorma, Senior Adviser for Medical Affairs, tel. +358 295 163 388, [email protected] (mental health services)
Sarita Friman, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 163 349, [email protected] (mental health promotion, suicide prevention)