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FSHS: the age limit for therapy guarantee in legislative proposal may put young people needing services on unequal footing

On June 7, the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) submitted an opinion to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on the Government’s proposal concerning children and young people’s access to therapy. The goal of the proposed legislation is to ensure fast access to low-threshold help for mental health disorders and their prevention for children and young people under the age of 23. The FSHS argues that it should be taken into consideration that if implemented, the proposed legislation could weaken access to services for those in need of other health services. One set of resources is reserved for the provision of both mental health services and other health services.

“Due to the limited nature of the resources, the promise of access to treatment for the youngest population involves a risk. The law could impact mental health services in a way that would provide adequate intervention for those with milder symptoms but leave those with severe disorders without access to the treatment they need”, says FSHS Medical Director Teija Kulmala.

Students’ problems aren’t as much age-based as they are connected to certain stressful situations. The demand for mental health services isn’t highest in younger higher education students – statistics on visits to the FSHS show that in addition to when they first start their studies, students most often need help toward the end of their studies when it’s time to write a thesis. Mental health problems in higher education students aren’t age-based. With the age-based mental health therapy guarantee, three quarters of higher education students would be left out.

Further information for the media: Teija Kulmala, Medical Director, FSHS, teija.kulmala(at), tel. 041 731 9420