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Monday's papers: Mental health care ten years after Jokela, pensions with integrity, car sharing comparison

Finland's print press starts out the week with stories on young people's psychiatric services, a ranking of 30 countries' pension systems, and a comparison of five different car sharing services in Helsinki.

Kaksi EkoRent Oy:n sähköautoa Teurastamon parkkipaikalla.
Electric Ekorent cars in Helsinki's Teurastamo. Image: Petteri Juuti / Yle

The tabloid Iltalehti features an STT story looking at the state of mental health care for young people, as Finland marks the ten-year anniversary of the Jokela school shooting. In 2007, 18-year-old student Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed eight fellow students before turning his semi-automatic weapon on himself.

Experts interviewed by the news agency say that young people's availability and access to psychiatric treatment has improved in the last decade, but still varies widely between locations and hospital facilities. Referrals to specialists are just as difficult to obtain as they were before.

"Even though we have tried to get a handle on the problem, I don't think the situation has improved in this area much in the last ten years," Helsinki University crisis psychologist Salli Saari tells STT.

One year after Jokela, 22-year-old student Matti Juhani Saari shot and killed ten people and himself in Kauhajoki. Safety Investigation Authority investigator Kai Valonen was on the commissions that investigated the school shootings. Both of the young men had been bullied in school and Auvinen was on anti-depressants. Before the tragic event in Jokela, Auvinen's parents had tried to get their son referred to a psychiatric outpatient clinic to no avail.

"If you ask me, I would say that the single most important change we could make would be to improve mental health services for young people," he says.

Figures from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health show that outpatient specialist psychiatric treatment for young people has increased significantly in Finland in recent years, along with in-house periods of intensive care in mental health facilities.

Olavi Sydänmaanlakka, Executive Director of the Finnish Central Association for Mental Health, tells STT that it is much easier now to receive acute treatment. Ten years ago, there could have been a half-year waiting period. 

"People get more and more ill while they wait. Now some cities have invested more resources into acute outpatient care, which ends up saving money because it works preventively to keep matters from getting worse," he says.

Finland is fifth for pensions

The online publication Verkkouutiset has a story on Finland's recent top ranking in an evaluation of different countries' pension systems. The Mercer Global Pension Index released on Monday places Finland in fifth place in an international comparison of 30 countries.

For the fourth year running, Finland's pensions were ranked first in terms of integrity (trustworthy and transparent) in the world, but even so, the overall rating dropped one place to fifth. Denmark won first prize for the sixth year in a row, following by the Netherlands, Australia and Norway.

The 2016 appraisal saw the sustainability rating of Finland's pension system – which is comprised of a basic state pension supplemented by a range of statutory earnings-related schemes – improve, in part due to legislative changes in this area. Points were deducted for Finland's weak economic outlook, growing government debt, and poor household saving habits.

This year's report suggests that Finland could improve its overall index value in the future by increasing the minimum pension for low-income pensioners, raising the level of mandatory pension contributions, raising the retirement age as life expectancy rises, and better protecting the pension interests of both parties in the event of a divorce.  

"The Global Pension Index is an interesting comparison because it analyzes the adequacy, sustainability and the integrity of the pension funds simultaneously. The Nordic countries perform well, because they rank high in every category," says Mikko Kautto, Director of the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Not cheap, but super convenient

And Hesari starts the week with a comparison of five different car sharing services in Helsinki: Drivenow, Ekorent, Gonow, Cit Car Club and Shareit Blox Car. The general conclusion is that the service isn't cheaper than owning your own car, but it is very handy and carefree.

The operating principle is as follows: when you need to use a car – even for just an hour – you use a mobile app to reserve a car that is parked nearest to you, visible on the app's map. You pay only for the time you use the car, no maintenance, refuelling or parking fees.

The paper found that Gonow is the best deal if you need a car to pay someone a visit, for example. The 0.47 euro per minute price drops to 0.10 euros/min once the car is parked. A three-hour standstill costs 18 euros – about the same price you would pay to park your car in a Helsinki parking garage.

Drivenow is the biggest operator in Helsinki at present, with a fleet of 150 cars. It gained 13,000 members in just five months, and uses a key card instead of an app to access the vehicles. City Car Club offers hourly rates which are more forgiving if you are caught in traffic, while Ekorent's electric cars are the best choice for ecologically-minded customers.

Shareit Blox Car offers the only true car sharing model in the real sense of the word. Here, private car owners rent out their cars to people who need them. It's not near as handy, but cars are available for as little as 20 euros per day. Each of the services plans to expand to other cities in Finland in the near future.

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