Scotland and Finland join forces on mental health

A delegation of Finnish Parliamentarians and charities are headed to Scotland this week in a fact-finding and knowledge-exchange mission on mental health.

Scotland and Finland, both considered world-leaders in the field, will aim to deepen their understanding of each other’s policies and interventions to improve people’s wellbeing in their respective nations. 

The visit, facilitated by Mental Health Foundation Scotland and the Finnish Mental Health Partnership (Mielenterveyspooli) will bring together Scottish and Finnish parliamentarians, charities, academics and the NHS. 

The delegation will meet Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey MSP in addition to Holyrood’s Cross-Party Group on Mental Health and a number of leading public health charities.

Tarja Filatov, Finnish Member of Parliament who is leading the delegation said:   ”The purpose of the visit is to learn about Scottish mental health policies that aim to improve people’s wellbeing. Scotland is considered a world leader in the field – for example in tackling stigma.

”We’re particularly interested in the role of the Mental Health Minister, which doesn’t exist in Finland, and how the ministerial post can influence policy across government to improve outcomes.

”We look forward to meeting Minister Haughey and the Cross Party Group, share knoweldge and learn from each other to improve the lives and wellbeing of our respective citizens.” 

Toni Giugliano from Mental Health Foundation Scotland said: ”We’re delighted to welcome Finland’s delegation to Scotland. At a time of global isolationism we must continue to work together across borders to improve people’s lives.

”Finland is a world leader in mental health and Scotland has a lot to learn from our Finnish neighbours, particularly in the field of mental health education, where children are taught about their emotions and self-care strategies from a young age. Indeed, in Finland, mental health is seen as an educational outcome and not just a clinical intervention. 

”But more than that, wellbeing is embedded in Finnish culture and society and across many policy fields such as urban planning. From recreation and hobbies to their use of space for public buildings, wellbeing is front and centre – we should learn from that.”