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Kids mostly turn to school nurses for support, THL survey finds

Only half of the youngsters said they felt there was an adult at school in whom they could confide.

Nuoria tyttöjä kauppakeskus Triplassa.
According to the THL study, children and young people use the student care services available to them extensively. Image: Ronnie Holmberg / Yle

Children and young people in Finland feel they received support for their well-being from school nurses and other professionals, according to a study published by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Monday.

The study's findings were based on results of THL's 2019 School Health Promotion study.

A large proportion of the students who responded to the school health survey had gained access to student care services involving a school nurse or counsellor, doctor or psychologist during the 2018–2019 academic year.

Despite only attending a routine health check-up, many respondents said they felt they'd received offers of support from various wellbeing services.

"This shows that health checks are an important form of support for children and young people. In addition, community welfare work has also been successful," THL's chief physician Marke Hietanen-Peltola said in a statement.

Most students in the study said had found it easy to access the services, with only around two percent of respondents saying they were unable to gain access to a support service they needed. Gaining access to psychologist services was considered the most difficult.

Around half said they confide in an adult in school

Students most commonly accessed care services from school nurses. Around ten percent of students had visited a school counsellor. Girls were more likely to seek support from student care services than boys.

However, girls were also more likely to say they did not receive the support they needed. The study revealed the experiences of student support services also varied greatly according to year group and what service was accessed.

Roughly half of the children and youths said they felt that there was an adult in school with whom they could discuss issues weighing on their minds.

Between 16 percent and 31 percent of young people felt they had not received adequate support from a school counsellor, and between 18 and 41 percent of respondents felt they had not been adequately supported by a psychologist.

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