Mental wellbeing

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Mental health and wellbeing comprise many individual, social, societal and cultural factors. WHO defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. You can contribute to your own mental health and wellbeing in many ways. The University also offers a wide range of related services, including support for when you need support for study-related challenges, need someone to talk to, or wish to seek peer support. This page contains a list of available student wellbeing services as well as links to relevant events organised by the University.

Please also visit the following pages for instructions for students: Study Support and Ground Rules.

Current events concerning mental wellbeing

This section contains a list of current mental health related events organised by the University and its partners. Please also visit Guidance Corner for various study support related events.

This chapter will be updated during autumn.

Where can I find help for a mental health emergency?

Health centre

In an acute mental health crisis, please contact your local health centre. Health centres employ a wide range of relevant professionals, such as nurses specialised in mental health and substance abuse. Health centres are open 8.00–16.00 on weekdays and you can contact accident and emergency departments 24 hours a day.

Crisis helpline

The national MIELI Mental Health Finland Crisis Helpline provides assistance in Finnish 24 hours a day (phone +358 9 2525 0111) and in English and Arabic on Mondays and Tuesdays 11.00–15.00, Wednesdays 13.00–16.00 and 17.00–21.00, and Thursdays 10.00–15.00 (phone +358 9 2525 0113).

Sekasin online chat

The Sekasin online chat (in Finnish) is a national discussion platform for young people aged 10 to 29. You can discuss issues or topics that are troubling you confidentially and anonymously. The chat is staffed by mental health professionals from various organisations as well as trained volunteers.

SOS Crisis Centre

The SOS Crisis Centre in Helsinki provides assistance in mental health crises for anyone living in Finland. The centre offers short-term crisis counselling and guidance.

You can book an appointment by phone (+358 9 4135 0510) or through an online appointment calendar.

Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS)

The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) employs professionals such as public health nurses, registered nurses, general practitioners, psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists to help you with mental health related issues. For further information on FSHS and how to book an appointment, please visit the FSHS appointment services website.

To see a healthcare professional remotely or in person, you need to book an appointment. A healthcare professional will assess your situation and the level of urgency, provide self-care instructions and refer you to another provider or service if your needs fall outside the scope of student health services. You can book an appointment by phone or using the online chat service. FSHS nationwide service numbers are open Monday to Thursday 8.00–15.00 and 8.00–14.00 on Fridays.

The service number for general and mental health services is +358 46 710 1073.
A link to the SelfChat online service can be found on the FSHS website.

Counselling Services of the Finnish Central Association for Mental Health

If you are worried about your own mental health or that of someone close to you, feel helpless or alone with your worries, or are wondering where to seek help, you can call the counselling helpline of the Finnish Central Association for Mental Health (phone 0203 91920) or contact their online chatroom. The service is open 10.00–15.00 on weekdays.

The helpline is subject to a charge of 8.35 cents per call plus 16.69 cents per minute.

You can also contact mental health professionals through The Valoa chatroom (in Finnish), which is available 12.00–15.00 on weekdays. After that time, the chatroom serves as a peer support discussion platform from 15.00 to 18.00.

How can I take care of my own mental health?

Mental health information on the FSHS website

The Mental Health Information website of the Finnish Student Health Service provides information on various aspects of mental health as well as recommendations on how you can improve and foster your own mental health.

The website includes sections on

  • Emotional skills
  • Social relations
  • Self-compassion
  • Stress management
  • Performance anxiety

Mental Hub

The Mental Hub website (part of the Health Village service) contains various mental health related self-care instructions. The service is currently available in Finnish. The website contains information on how to cope with depression, anxiety or alcohol abuse. You can refer to these instructions to improve your health and wellbeing in your own time.

Learn Life Skills by Nyyti ry

Nyyti ry, a nonprofit organisation that works to support students’ mental health, offers a Learn Life Skills course, the purpose of which is to improve users’ self-knowledge and provide tools for increasing and maintaining your wellbeing. The Learn Life Skills course may help you gain insight into what constitutes a good and meaningful everyday life for you. You can also consult the online guidebook (pdf) and complete exercises independently.

Oiva mental health exercises

Oiva mental health exercises (in Finnish and Swedish) will help you focus and be present, identify issues that are important to you and cope with negative thoughts and emotions. The Oiva website contains more than 40 exercises you can complete, for example, on the bus, as you prepare to sleep, or in the course of a busy workday. Most exercises are 2 to 3 minutes in length and can be completed by reading or listening.

The Oivamieli website contains exercises for situations such as:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Where can I find support for my studies?

Study Skills Course

The Study Skills Course (3 credits) is intended for all students of the University. The course trains students in a range of skills that help them feel and study better, as well as in important skills needed in professional life. The course includes online assignments completed independently and group discussion.

Key course content involves practising and increasing psychological flexibility. This is strongly linked to overall wellbeing and progress in studies. Psychological flexibility refers to the ability to act in accordance with the values and objectives that are important to you in spite of experiencing negative thoughts and feelings, as well as the ability to identify and examine your thoughts and to take action that aligns with your objectives. For further information, please visit the Courses website.

Study psychologists

Study psychologists (sometimes referred to as counselling psychologists) offer individual and group guidance and counselling to University of Helsinki undergraduate students regarding issues such as academic skills, motivation, time management, coping, tension, anxiety and thesis writing. You can book up to five appointments as necessary. The number of appointments is agreed with the individual student. For further information, please visit this website.

Support for returning students

Nyyti ry offers an information and guidance package for students resuming their studies after an extended period of absence. For further information, please consult the Support for returning students on the Nyyti ry website (in Finnish only).

I need spiritual or religious support or counselling

University chaplains

You can contact one of the university chaplains if you wish to talk about spiritual or religious issues, your studies, work, relationships or other areas of life. University chaplains provide a safe space for everyone, regardless of religion or belief, gender, or sexual orientation. For further information, please visit the university chaplains’ website.

Mental health service Mieppi

Mieppi is a free, low-threshold mental health service available for all adults and for adolescents over the age of 13 living in Helsinki.

You can contact Mieppi if you have concerns regarding your life situation or mental health and are in need of counselling. You can book up to five counselling or guidance appointments as necessary. Counselling sessions can be arranged remotely or in person as per your wishes. For further information, please visit the Mieppi website of the City of Helsinki.

Kamppi Chapel

 Kamppi Chapel offers counselling, assistance and guidance provided by parish employees and social workers of the Social Services and Health Care Division of the City of Helsinki.

Where can I find social and communal support? Where can I find help for loneliness?

Kaupunkiolohuone Kohtaus – Communal meeting spaces 

The Kohtaus communal meeting spaces in Vallila and Malmi, Helsinki, are spaces for community and communal activities. They are meant for young adults aged 18 to 30. The meeting spaces aim at decreasing loneliness among young adults. 

Surplus food provided by Stadin safka is available for pick-up at the Kohtaus locations. The available dishes usually include vegetables, fruit, bread and ready meals, but the daily selection may vary. Stadin safka is a cooperative effort between the City of Helsinki and the Parish Union of Helsinki aimed at developing food aid operations, offering surplus food to local people and decreasing the environmental impact of food waste.

Kohtaus Vallila: Päijänteentie 2, 00550 Helsinki
Kohtaus Malmi: Torikatu 3 (3rd floor), 00700 Helsinki

For further information, please visit the Kaupunkiolohuone Kohtaus website (in Finnish only).

HelsinkiMissio against loneliness

HelsinkiMissio provides assistance for people coping with loneliness. You can visit the website (in Finnish) or book an appointment for personal counselling. HelsinkiMissio also provides a special crisis centre for young people.

Eskot Clubhouses

The Clubhouses operated by the nonprofit organisation Etelä-Suomen klubitalot Eskot ry are an egalitarian community of people in need of psychosocial support, psychiatric rehabilitees and Clubhouse staff. The Clubhouses provide support for everyday activities, job seeking and studies. For further information, please visit the Clubhouses website.

I am looking for peer support in mental health related matters

Nyyti ry

Nyyti ry is a nonprofit organisation that supports and promotes the mental health of students as well as their life management skills and ability to study. Its services and activities are intended for all university students.

The services provided by Nyyti ry include targeted preventative activities such as group chats and NyytiTalks on issues such as stress, exhaustion, performance anxiety and general life management. In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Nyyti ry also organises themed events, discussion groups and courses.

For further information on available services and activities, please visit the Nyyti ry website.

HelsinkiMissio peer support groups

Peer support groups (information in Finnish) operated by HelsinkiMissio are aimed at young adults aged 18 to 29. The groups are confidential and led by professionals.

Where can I find help for substance abuse?

If you are having issues with substance abuse, please contact your local healthcare professionals as follows:

You can also find information about alcohol, drugs and addictions; tests; and contact information for parties providing help on the following websites:

Further information on the harmful effects of substance abuse and ways to prevent substance addiction is also available on the University webpages on substance abuse.

How can I support my mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak?

The changes in everyday life due to the Coronavirus outbreak may cause worry and anxiety. In this bulletin we have listed service providers and websites that can help you and give support in your worries caused by the situation. This chapter is updated regularly.

Tips to supporting mental well-being

  1. Avoid speculation and rumours that may cause more anxiety. Follow reliable sources of information.
    - You can find up-to-date information for example on Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare.
    - On the Instructions for Students Q&A page, you can find University’s instructions for studying during the coronavirus outbreak.
    - It is also recommended that you check your email regularly.
  2. Follow the given recommendations about staying at home and hygiene advice. Remember to wash your hands and take care of hygiene, whether you feel ill or not.
  3. It’s recommended to keep the everyday routines similar to normal everyday life. It’s important to remember to keep a healthy diet, have enough exercise and rest. You can get help from the some services listed on this page.
  4. Try to manage how much you follow the media during this time. It is wise to stay informed but remember to balance the information flow as it may also cause more anxiety.
  5. Stay connected. In a time of stress it may be easier to work when you are in touch (also remotely) with your family or friends. You can also contact the professionals listed on this page.

How do we maintain our mental well-being in the midst of the exceptional circumstances brought about by the coronavirus outbreak?

We compiled the questions and answers submitted by University staff and students to the on-line event on resilience held on 2 April. Read them in the University's Flamma intranet.

Guidance corner's Well-being Tuesdays' events offer support for studies and student well-being. See the Well-being Tuesdays' instruction page.

Study psychologists offer support in challenges in studying distantly

In addition to worry and anxiety caused by the coronavirus outbreak, shifting to study distantly may prove to be challenging. You may face challenges in finding structure in your daily life, courses get cancelled or transferring of courses on-line does not go smoothly. You may also need to opt out from courses because of family situation for example. When you are able to find suitable solutions to studying distantly, it can help you to deal with this exceptional situation and possible anxiety by directing your thoughts into a meaningful action. It is worth to spend some time to look for means to support your distant learning.

The study psychologists have gathered some tips to help with distant learning in the Support for studies instruction page. You can also book a time for distant guidance. You can find a link for booking a counselling time at the Study psychologists instruction page. With study psychologists you can share your concerns and think of what kind of studying is possible for you during this time and how that can be done in practice.

University chaplains are here for you during the Coronavirus pandemic

You don’t have to be alone. When you as a member of the university community

  • desire confidential conversation, pastoral counselling or prayer
  • feel the need to reflect upon life’s big questions (e.g. the meaning of life, hope and hopelessness, loneliness, insecurity)
  • are isolated and need help

Please contact University chaplains. The chaplains are there for all members of the university community regardless of their faith and convictions. Contact information:

Join the new communal online platform Discord

The University of Helsinki's Student Union has set up a communal platform on Discord. You can find peer support on various themes there. You can log in to the platform from this invitation link.

Other service providers supporting mental well-being

Mindfulness and relieving stress

Mindfulness is being fully present, being aware of where we are and what we are doing by not judging any thoughts, feelings or anything else. It’s paying attention purposefully to a certain stimulus in a way that you don’t have to react to it.  Mindfulness is being not too overwhelmed or reactive by what is happening around us. On times like this, it’s good to have a moment to calm down and be aware of the moment the way it is.

According to research, practicing mindfulness is a way to effect on your well-being. It can help control stress and anxiety when practiced regularly, preferably 10 minutes a day for a month. So if you don’t feel any changes after a few mindfulness exercises, don’t worry. Just keep practicing, and your stress might be relieved.

Nyyti ry has compiled a couple of good mindfulness exercises, which you can find on Spotify:

Keep physically active!

  • Every student and staff member is able to download the Break Pro break exercise program to help and motivate taking breaks from work and sitting at the desk. The Break Pro program is free of charge. Exercises can be done wherever, even in a small space. Read more on the Unisport pages on the Instructions for students!

Other helpful sources

Mental Health services are explained in English on Mieli, Mental Health Finland website.

The Finnish ADHD association provides online courses and other useful information such as brochures on how to improve your everyday life. The information is available in Finnish.

Recordings of events and other media sources

Recordings and articles from the Nyyti ry Student Mental Health Day

The theme of Student Mental Health Day 2021 was communality and right for help. The campaign was organised by the Student Wellbeing Network coordinated by Nyyti ry. Below are links to recordings from events organised by the University:

  • Q&A session with Nyyti ry expert and university chaplains
    Nyyti ry staff and university chaplains organised a Q&A session on the University’s Instagram account on 14 April 2021. You can view a recording of the event on Instagram at @universityofhelsinki.
  • Webinar on promoting compassion
    Compassion: The challenge and strength of remote work is available on Unitube. The webinar aims to provide tools for promoting compassion in your community.
  • Webinar: Study stress and exhaustion
    An English-language webinar hosted by counselling psychologists Study stress and exhaustion is available on Unitube (subtitles can be enabled by clicking the cc button). Webinar slides are available as a pdf document.
    Feeling stuck and alone? Experiencing challenges with getting things done? Have you started to feel like nothing you do in your studies is good enough? Welcome to the counselling psychologists’ webinar about study stress and exhaustion. The intention of the webinar is to share general observations and experiences of the impact that the prolonged pandemic and remote studies have had on students, with a special emphasis on strategies to cope and supporting wellbeing in studies.
  • Introducing the University wellbeing service providers
    The Instructions for Students website includes an introduction to the counselling psychologists and university chaplains:
    Meet the University of Helsinki Counselling Psychologists (Instructions for Students)
    Meet the University Chaplains of University of Helsinki (Instructions for Students)

Lunch webinars of the Finnish Student Health Service

The lunch webinars of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) from spring 2021 are available on YouTube. The webinars are in Finnish.

  1. Managing distance learning through routines
  2. Social life and loneliness
  3. Self-management and motivation