The city is renting new premises for the service, as the current premises were not originally designed for this type of service. Over the years, the operations of Symppis have expanded from the initial day activities to also include health services, and this places special requirements on the premises. In addition, Building Control Services has required that an official alteration of the intended use of the existing premises be made if operations are to be continued in them.
The new premises will be renovated during the autumn to meet the needs of the service. In the renovation of the premises, special attention will be paid to the safety of clients, staff and neighbours.
Helsinki has to rent the premises as the city does not have suitable premises of its own in Itäkeskus. Symppis has been operating in Itäkeskus for more than 10 years.
Over the years, Symppis has created a close-knit and well-functioning network with operators in the area, such as the shopping centre and companies in the area. The network has jointly considered and planned measures to make the area’s environment safe for all concerned parties.
“This network work will continue in Itäkeskus. In the autumn, we will work very closely with the Asiakkaankatu partners,” says Aila Ronkanen, Manager of Psychosocial Work at Helsinki Substance Abuse Services.
Diverse services for those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues
Symppis is intended for clients who are experiencing substance abuse and mental health issues. Symppis provides clients in a vulnerable position with health and social counselling and, if necessary, guidance to other services.
In Symppis, clients can exchange needles and syringes, and they are provided information on safe injection practices. Symppis also offers, for example, rapid tests for HIV and hepatitis and vaccinations. A doctor is available at the day centre on a weekly basis.
At the day centre, clients can use a computer and get help, for example, in matters related to livelihood and employment.
Porridge, coffee and bread are also served. Clients can also come to Symppis just to relax or catch up with employees, peer support persons and other clients. Symppis is open Monday–Friday 9.00–15.00.
In addition to Symppis Itäkeskus, there is one health and social counselling point in Kontula and one in Sörnäinen. In addition, the mobile health advice point provides services throughout the city. The timetable and stops of Mobile Symppis health advice are available on the city’s website.