The coronavirus pandemic has had an adverse effect on people’s mental health and well-being, and quick action is needed, according to the instructions given by UN health authorities on Thursday 14 May 2020. Isolation, fear, uncertainty and financial turmoil cause psychological distress. The City of Helsinki is putting resources on low-threshold services so that residents can be provided with help and support during challenging times.
‘At Mieppi, we do not talk about mental health problems or diagnoses. If a person feels they need help, that they have worries or are in a tricky situation, that is enough,’ Head Nurse Mirka Reinholm describes Mieppi’s work and clients.
Reinholm has been part of creating a framework for the Mieppi service, which promotes mental health amongst the city’s residents for no charge and has now been operating for about half a year. The work began in November at Myllypuro Health Station, and further developing has been done in stages since then. Multiple contact options have been launched, so that as many people as possible can find a suitable way of contacting the service when needed. Mieppi focuses on serving the residents of the areas covered by the Myllypuro, Kontula and Kivikko health stations, but receives queries from people all over Helsinki.
‘No one will be turned away,’ says Reinholm.
People can use the contact option that best suits them
Under normal conditions, Mieppi accepts walk-in clients during specific opening hours. However, due to the exceptional circumstances, the walk-in appointments have been temporarily discontinued and, instead, contact with clients is mainly taking place by phone and via online video conference calls. Appointments for Mieppi can be made on the internet, but requires strong identification, i.e. online banking ID.
‘Some of our clients are underage children who do not necessarily have such ID yet. Instead, they can use a form to contact us,’ says nurse Noora Hästbacka who works directly with clients.
Mieppi’s services are intended for clients over 13 years of age. Currently, most are 20–24-year-old Helsinkians who book their appointments online. However, some clients find calling easier.
The phone will be picked up by a nurse or a psychologist
At Mieppi, a nurse or a psychologist will answer a client’s call or message and discuss their situation. If necessary, one to five meetings are set up for talking. The meetings can take place once a week, for example.
‘A single discussion is enough for some. However, the majority have five meetings and do more work on their challenges,’ Hästbacka says.
According to Hästbacka, talking can help nudge little things into motion. Early support and aid can increase self-understanding and help to find ways of coping in a difficult situation. The main goal is to have that human connection and be heard. The discussions will focus on things that the client wants to work on.
Willingness to talk is the key
Hästbacka has been taking part in Mieppi’s operations since the work began. For the past six months, she has talked to people of all ages about work, relationships and how they are coping. According to her, many people demand a lot from themselves and feel stressed because of society’s high expectations. This may cause them to lose balance in their life.
Do the clients have something in common?
‘The main thing is a willingness to talk,’ she says.
Mieppi hopes that people will keep on contacting the service even during these exceptional times and not wait for the pandemic to end. Living under the current conditions may in itself be a cause for concern.
‘It is normal to have worries and concerns, but some people find times like these harder than others,’ Hästbacka says.
Soon, the low-threshold discussion support and walk-in appointments will become even easier to access by the residents of Helsinki when another Mieppi opens its doors next autumn at Kalasatama Health and Well-being Centre.
Information about Mieppi
- Mieppi – low-threshold support for mental well-being
- Discussion support is available in spite of the exceptional situation!
- Please note! Due to the coronavirus policies, Mieppi is currently favouring remote appointments. This means that the walk-in service at Myllypuro Health Station is not available for the time being.
- Call Mieppi on weekdays at 8–16, tel. 09 310 26830
- Learn about other ways of contacting Mieppi and read the appointment instructions on Mieppi’s website
- Mieppi will contact clients who have booked their appointments electronically in order to set the date.