The parties are in favour of investing in the Finnish Student Health Service – and rightly so!
In a party survey conducted by the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and the National Union of Students in Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (SAMOK), all parliamentary parties said they were ready to increase the funding of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) to meet the increased need for services. All felt it was particularly important to focus on students’ mental health.
“It’s great that there is a willingness to invest in the funding of the FSHS. The demand for mental health services at the FSHS has as much as tripled, and the current level of funding is simply not enough. Funding is sorely needed,” says Sonja Naalisvaara of the board of SYL.
When asked about what other solutions they would offer for the mental health problems among young people and students, almost all the parties stressed the need for low-threshold mental health services. The National Coalition Party, the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Christian Democrats (KD) were the main supporters of the therapy guarantee. Free psychotherapist training was offered as a solution by the Swedish People’s Party (RKP) and KD. The solution proposed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is to offer free rehabilitation psychotherapy for people under 29.
Student activists telephoned candidates all over Finland and asked them if they were ready to promote the funding of the FSHS in Parliament if elected. Of those who answered the call, 89% said yes. Candidates from the SDP, Greens and Left Alliance gave a total of over 95% support.
Some candidates answered the question about the funding of the FSHS differently from their party. The candidates with the most negative views on FSHS funding were from the Finns Party (17%) and the National Coalition Party (11%). Not all respondents answered the question; this was the case with 11% of KD candidates and 11% of SDP candidates.
“Students have been struggling with the mental health crisis for too long. Decision-makers must act now – and not later – to secure the future of our generation and Finland,” says Diana Muraskina, vice chair of the board of SAMOK.
SYL and SAMOK’s objectives:
- The accessibility and funding of the FSHS must be improved. Sufficient funding of the FSHS must be safeguarded.
- A smoother way to collect the healthcare fee must be developed.
- A national therapy guarantee must be introduced during the next government term (2023–2027).
- To ensure an adequate number of psychotherapists, psychotherapy training must be made free of charge for students.