7. Health and Well-Being
In regards to young people’s health and well-being, schools play an important role in Finland. A young person is entitled to have school health care, dental care, contraception and other sexual health counselling for young people. If a young person needs further guidance, which a school cannot offer, a school is responsible for directing them to further treatment. The promotion of healthy eating habits is part of the Finnish education system, while Sports and Health education are both mandatory subjects in educational institutions. Health education is a standalone academic subject, which is taught in all comprehensive schools, and it must have dedicated teaching staff. Topics of health education include sexual education, healthy eating and nutrition, and preventing risky behaviour. For more information, visit: Youth Wiki/Finland: 7.4 Health and Well-Being: Healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition.
Since the goal is to offer comprehensive health and welfare services to all young people, mechanisms of early detection are not primarily based on identifying target groups. The implementation of student welfare may vary in educational institutions. However, education providers are always responsible for organising statutory welfare services for students. Those young people who are not attending school are entitled to the same health services as other residents in the municipality. Additionally, several municipalities offer tailored services to young people.
The organisation of public healthcare, social welfare and rescue services will be reformed in Finland. The responsibility for organising these services will be transferred from municipalities to wellbeing services counties from 2023. The key objective of the reform is to improve the availability and quality of basic public services throughout Finland, to reinforce primary level services and to shift the emphasis towards preventive work.
The implementation of the Programme to address child and family services (LAPE) is a part of the healthcare reformation and it follows the guidelines established by the Government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin. The aim is to strengthen especially:
- Family Centers and the early support for children, young people and the families
- Easy access mental health and substance abuse services for children and young people
- The multidisciplinary of child protection
The first two are supported by the development actions in the Future Health and Social Services Centres Programme. For more information, visit: Youth Wiki/Finland: 7.2 Health and Well-Being: Administration and governance.