On Thursday the Finnish Association for Mental Health, FAMH, opened a new suicide prevention centre in Helsinki.
The centre offers support to people who've attempted suicide, people who self-harm, and provides help to people affected by the suicide of a close family member or friend.
The centre also offers training on how to identify someone who may be suicidal, as well as ways to bring up the delicate topic in conversation. Training and advice will also be offered on the possibilities of further treatment.
Suicide prevention centres in Kuopio - and now Helsinki - will require no referrals and their services offered are free of charge. The program is funded by STEA, the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations.
“Even for social and healthcare professionals, suicide attempts and self-harm can be difficult topics to discuss. Now there is even more professional and specialized help available” Marena Kukkonen, the head of the suicide prevention centres, said in a FAMH press release.
A suicide will likely traumatize at least six other people
The suicide rates in Finland have long been above the average of EU countries, and among the highest in the Nordics. In Finland a total of 787 suicides were carried out in 2016. The number of attempted suicides is believed to be ten times that figure.
“Suicides are most times rash decisions” said Kukkonen. “Desperation can be momentarily amplified which can make a situation seem like a dead-end. Talking in difficult situations is an effective preventive measure as an individual can begin to realize there are other options open to them. Mental pain begins to ease and hope begins to blossom.”
FAMH has begun to use the LINITY-intervention model on individuals who have attempted suicide as the model has been proven to reduce further suicide attempts. The effectiveness of the model is currently being studied by Finnish researchers.
The prevention of suicides is one of the most important tasks of Finnish mental health services.
While the social impact of a suicide is immeasurable, an average of six people will be affected by the suicide, according to research by the World Health Organization. That number is likely to drastically increase if the suicide occurs in a school or workplace.
“Those who attempt suicide are usually very thankful later that they survived. There's a strong argument that suicide prevention should be continued - now more than ever,” Kukkonen said.