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FSHS’s key projects promote well-being in the community

News

May 15, 2018

Listen to yourself, Bottoms up and A healthy mind are FSHS’s key projects in 2017. The Bottoms up project, carried out in Turku in 2014–2016, received an honourable mention.

Each year, the FSHS carries out several projects to promote community health together with its partners. In 2017, we conducted a total of 13 such projects, three of which were chosen as key projects: promoting students’ ability to study, reducing health risks associated with too much sitting, and facilitating early intervention. These key projects have reached both students and university staff members and promoted well-being in communities as a whole.

“These projects have become firmly established practices and can also be replicated in other environments. The Bottoms up campaign in Turku is a wonderful example of community health projects at their best”, says Noora Seilo, FSHS Chief Physician for Community Health.

Studying skills via an online course

The Listen to yourself project (“Kuuntele itseäsi”) featured videos intended to enhance students’ resources to make progress in their studies and equip them to take care of their well-being and ability to study. The videos produced in the project – focusing on resources in everyday life, good and bad stress, and students’ own personal strengths – are part of the University of Lapland’s online course on studying skills. In autumn 2017, 115 students took the first course. The videos will continue to be used during the course in future and have also been published on the University website, where they are freely available for anyone to use.

The Listen to yourself project was carried out at the FSHS’s Rovaniemi unit. The partners involved were the University of Lapland student services, the FSHS working group on health, the Open University and Lapland University of Applied Sciences.

Exercise breaks during lectures

The university community spends a considerable proportion of its working and studying time sitting. Too much time spent sitting causes a variety of health problems such as neck, shoulder and back complaints. It also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes. The Bottoms up project aimed to encourage lecturers to make greater use of short exercise breaks during lectures. A project conducted during the previous year showed that lecturers needed a greater impetus to take exercise breaks during lectures. One approach was to compile instruction sheets with three exercise moves, which were then attached to lecturers’ tables in order to make it fun and simple to take a short exercise break.

The Bottoms up project was carried out at the FSHS’s Vaasa unit together with the FSHS working group on health and the University of Vaasa Student Union.

First aid for mental health

Meeting a student experiencing difficulties may pose a challenge both for other students and for university staff. The A healthy mind project (“Mielelläni voin hyvin”), carried out in Espoo, was designed to improve life skills and find ways to promote the early identification of problems, early intervention and access to treatment. The project organised a three-session course aimed at both staff and students. In future, it is intended to include the course in the continuing education curriculum for university staff.

The A healthy mind project was conducted by the FSHS’s Espoo site together with the Aalto University working group on health, Aalto University pastors, and Nyyti ry.

Honourable mention for the original Bottoms up project

Bottoms up, one of the key projects in 2017, was created on the basis of a project developed four years ago in Turku. The project, which was conducted in Turku in 2014–2016, received an honourable mention as one of the best FSHS projects of all time. At the time, staff in Turku addressed an issue that had so far received little attention, namely the long periods students spend sitting. Thanks to the project, the health risks associated with too much sitting were widely discussed both nationally and internationally. The results of the project have since been used in other universities both in Finland and abroad.

Further information: Noora Seilo, FSHS Chief Physician for Community Health, noora.seilo@yths.fi