Children and adolescents of Helsinki need a mental health unit

The City of Helsinki Audit Committee observed things to fix and develop, for example, in the realisation of mental health services for children and adolescents. In its Annual Assessment Report, the audit committee recommends that the City reorganises its operations and, if necessary, allocates additional resources in order to set up a unit for the evaluation and treatment of minor and intermediate mental health problems among children and adolescents. The unit would also function as a location for special health care follow-up treatment.

Furthermore, a joint appraisal of the mental health services for children and adolescents was made together with the cities of the Helsinki Capital Region and HUS. As part of the appraisal, it was observed that the service system is patchy, particularly in Helsinki. Helsinki lacks an authority responsible for the mental health services for children and adolescents, which would be able to offer psychiatric outpatient treatment in cases of minor or intermediate disturbances.

It was recommended that Helsinki’s social services and health care division and education division work together to appoint a person in charge of the co-ordination of the services. The divisions must also improve the availability of mental health services in school and student health care. The co-operation with HUS should be increased to ease the shortage of doctors and to develop the care pathway in adolescent psychiatry.

In its 2018 Annual Assessment Report, the Helsinki Audit Committee processes 18 different topics and proposes 49 recommendations in total. The recommendations concern, among other things, development of primary education and informal care, as well as increased efficiency in carrying out the emissions reductions.

More resources for remedial instruction needed in primary education

The pupils’ need for remedial instruction and special support has increased. The principals of primary schools find that more special education teachers are needed in the schools.

Based on the assessment, the schools need extra resources when the number of pupils in need of remedial instruction and special support increases. The pupils in need of support are located especially in the northern and north-eastern areas. The need for additional support exists in better-off areas and less multicultural school areas as well.

System of time-off and substitutes for informal caregivers not working

The supply of services in support of informal care for people aged over 65 is more extensive in Helsinki than what is prescribed by law, but the supply does not entirely match the needs of the customers. An essential problem is that the system of time-off and substitutes for informal caregivers does not work as the informal caregivers would like it to. 

The Audit Committee notes that the share of informal care has dropped in Helsinki and it has not been possible to increase its attractiveness among other forms of care. It is important that opportunities to be an informal caregiver are communicated more extensively, for example, to working people. At the same time, the accessibility of informal care services should be improved, for example, by arranging transports to the services.

Carbon dioxide emissions reductions advancing slowly

The City of Helsinki has not yet managed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions substantially, although many measures have been taken. In the City Strategy, Helsinki has set a 60 percent emissions reduction goal for the year 2030 and a carbon neutrality goal for the year 2035.

In its Annual Assessment Report, the Audit Committee states that the City must increase its co-operations in the implementation of the emissions reduction with the business sector, the residents of the city and the housing cooperatives. The achievement of the reduction goals for transportation emissions should be furthered by more efficient means.

Annual Assessment Report processed by the City Council on 19 June

The Audit Committee is an organ that reports to the City Council and whose task is to assess the extent to which the goals set by the City Council have been fulfilled. The 2018 Annual Assessment Report can be read at:

The City Council will process the Assessment Report at its meeting on 19 June 2019.

Further information:
Dan Koivulaakso, Chair of the Audit Committee, 044 5066 613,
Timo Terävä, Audit Director, 050 435 7547,

2018 Annual Assessment Report

Audit Committee

Audit Department