Finnish Central Association for Mental Health is an association for people suffering and recovering from psychiatric problems. It stresses the right to a full, dignified life for everyone.
Human dignity and deferential treatment are everyone’s basic human rights. Mental patients and those with a history of mental illness are equal and competent members of society. In order to ensure their full participation in society, these people must be guaranteed a right to a home, to work according to their capacity as well as to basic financial security.
The main problem is lack of service options and uneven distribution of mental health services in the country. Institutional care also leaves much to hope for. Mental patients often face difficulties because they are not receiving the help and support they need. Many also struggle with problems such as financial difficulties, loneliness and isolation.
Full back-up provided
Finnish Central Association for Mental Health consists of some 170 local, regional and national mental health associations from all over the country. The members of these associations are people with personal experience from mental problems and various mental illnesses. The membership also includes patients’ relatives, psychiatric nursing staff and other volunteers willing to contribute to mental health work.
Peer support is the clue to recovery
Our guiding principle is peer support. This means mutual support and the sharing of experiences. People with a background of mental problems and illnesses can meet in a safe and approving atmosphere, exchange views and discuss how they have managed to move on and to cope better. Our member associations form a safety net offering social relations for people facing a difficult situation.
Emphasis on expertise
We highly value the indisputable expertise of persons with psychiatric problems in matters regarding themselves. We want to make this expertise known and valued among social welfare and health care professionals by, for instance, organising seminars and thus promoting the development of mental health care services and the well-being of mental patients on both a local and a national level.
The regional secretaries of our association focus on supporting local chapters and helping them with practicalities. The association organises rehabilitation courses for the mentally ill. It has also founded an information service centre for mental health rehabilitation, providing information on all mental health rehabilitation services available in Finland.
Self help groups conducted by local associations provide a forum for patients and family members to share coping skills and build self-esteem.
Finnish Central Association for Mental Health offers legal consultation, promotes employment and annually organises large-scale nation-wide events and seminars. It also arranges low-budget holidays for persons with psychiatric problems.
Training and information
Finnish Central Association for Mental Health trains its members in order to better equip them for activities such as employment, exercising, training, marketing and information.
Finnish Central Association for Mental Health develops outpatient care together with local communities, rehabilitation councelling is offered through a special project in 4 communities.
It issues a periodical called Revanssi, which is distributed among members. Another important information channel is the Mental Health Fair, which reaches an audience of thousands. Through these activities, Finnish Central Association for Mental Health aims at providing information and increasing the general acceptance of mental patients and those with a history of mental illness as equal members of society. Finnish Central Association for Mental Health also publishes books and audiovisual material.
Nordiska Föreningen för Social och Mental Hälsa
European Network for (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP)
International Hearing Voices Recearch Network (INTERVOICE)
RIFI, Rehabilitation International Finnish Committee
European Anti Poverty Network
World Network for Survivors and (ex-) Users of Psychiatry
GAMIAN, Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks