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Government grant enables the FSHS to offer more mental health services for students in higher education

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has decided to award the FSHS a government grant of 4.2 million euros to offer additional mental health services in 2022. The grant is to be used to address problems faced by higher education students due to COVID‑19.

In its supplementary budget drawn up in spring 2020, the Finnish Parliament awarded the FSHS the right to apply for a government grant totalling 5 million euros to address problems caused by COVID‑19 and to support the ability to study and ensure the well-being of higher education students. Last spring, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health decided to award a grant of around 750,000 euros to enable to the FSHS to provide these services during 2021. It has now been decided to provide the FSHS with a further grant of 4.2 million euros, which will be available for use until the end of 2022.

“The majority of students in higher education are healthy, but the prolonged abnormal situation may have affected student well-being. Changes in how studies are organised, the increase in independent and online studying and restrictions on social life have added to the insecurity, mental load and feeling of loneliness in the lives of students. This autumn, the return to campuses hasn’t brought relief for everyone,” says Tommi Väyrynen, FSHS Medical Director in Mental Health and Study Community Work.

This latest grant will enable the FSHS to expand its mental health support services and temporarily strengthen the resources needed to offer them.

“The grants awarded will allow the FSHS to significantly expand both low-threshold self-care mental health services and the therapeutic mental health services offered by our professionals. We’ll further develop our digital mental health services, organise mental health first-aid courses and offer training to our staff as well as to personnel in higher education institutions,” Väyrynen says.

Supplementary funding awarded this spring used to boost chat services

This spring, a decision was made to award the FSHS supplementary funding of roughly 750,000 euros to be used during 2021. The FSHS has used the funds primarily to expand its mental health chat services. The anonymous MieliChat service was opened in June followed by expansion in September of the therapeutic SelfChat mental health line service.

“There was clearly a need for both MieliChat, which lets students access support anonymously, and to expand the therapeutic chat service. These channels have been widely used by students.”

For more information

Tommi Väyrynen, Medical Director in Mental Health and Study Community Work, tel. 046 876 9743.