Did you know that here in Helsinki was held Norddiakoni Intensive course – “Mental health and Wellbeing – focus on homeless and underprivileged populations” on 21.-26.4.2016? Well in case you did not, I will tell you about it.
There were participants from Finland, Norway and Sweden, students and teachers. What all the participants had in common was that they all took care of other people and their wellbeing. I took part on it 23.–24.4.2016. It was rather interesting. Topics of the seminar were social inclusion, loneliness, mental health and undocumented immigrants and overall what we should, could and would do to those issues?
Students and teachers were discussing after the presentations of the various measures that should be done. How to activate people who feels loneliness or hopelessness in their life and those who suffer from poverty and unemployment. How to help those who live with the help of social benefits from year to year. How to help people who have stopped trying. Not to forget the people who have been forced to leave their country against their will, leaving everything behind just to find themselves in a country, with their high expectations of life and yet their new home country might only have a little to offer. In the worst case, they might not even have a legal permission to be in the country. They would have to live their lives without rights in welfare state.
What kind of activities do we need? What do we do? Because all the people have the right to be a member of our society.
All of the intensive course presentations were global, thought worthy and demanding subject’s activity. For example think about loneliness, homelessness, undocumented immigrants, poverty and hopelessness. Even though the topics covered the underprivileged of the society, not a single subject seemed hopeless. I personally followed the presentations with great interest. I got the feeling that we should come up with something right now, so that we can minimize people´s worries and make the world better place to live. We must and we can do something to help each other. I suggest that we start the change from ourselves; our attitudes and how we face the people. We should take care of people and to be interested in other people’s wellbeing like we are with our children and loved ones.
Päivi Rissanen, who has been mental health patient for 27 years gave a presentation that brought hope and reassurance that nothing is impossible. Päivi´s survival is quite incredible. Her presentation condensed the whole aim and understanding of the intensive course. Having been a mental health patient for 27 years and now being Ph.D. Päivi told us that we need discussions and debates as well as interaction between people, respect for others, trust, caring and understanding. Rissanen´s survival story is quite touching and sweet. She took the help of a nurse, who saw her as herself as an individual rather than a mental patient. I love that Päivi shared her story with the rest of us. Hope is what we should all remember, isn’t it?
Who am I?
Marja Walldén-Hirvonen, student
Degree Program in promoting the social exclusion of health and well-being. Masters degree (YAMK), Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland