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  • Lauri Beekmann

Substance abuse and mental health organizations in Finland demand the government to cancel planned cuts to the organizations

A minimalist illustration of interconnected hands in a circle, symbolizing unity and collective support among social and health organizations.

10.04.2024 - Substance abuse and mental health organizations are expressing deep concern over the government's plans to cut state subsidies to social and health organizations. The proposed cuts amount to a massive 100 million euros in the coming years. If realized, these cuts would endanger the operational capabilities of the organizations and their ability to carry out their important work.

Social and health organizations are an essential part of Finnish society and the social and health services system, alongside the public and private sectors. Their work significantly impacts social well-being and health promotion, as well as the prevention of issues. These organizations have a deep understanding of their clients, achieved through cooperation with their target groups. As a result, their operations are effective and cost-efficient, based on solid expertise and professionalism. Funders also set precise requirements for the organizations' activities, which are skillfully and successfully implemented.

Organizations encounter a wide range of people from different backgrounds, some of whom are in a very vulnerable position. Often, these organizations may be the only entity capable of engaging with these individuals sufficiently early, timely, and comprehensively. The organizations' work is often based on low-threshold services, where people can also remain anonymous. The strength of these organizations lies in their flexible, diverse, and needs-based operation, which allows people in need to experience acceptance, being heard, participation, peer support, trust, and hope.

It is contradictory that while the government program emphasizes the importance of prevention and well-being promotion, there are significant cuts planned for the organizations' activities. If the cuts are implemented, the organizations will have to scale back their services and functions. This will immediately affect especially those in a vulnerable position, who receive significant help and support through the organizations. The work done by these organizations has a concrete impact on people's daily lives, and this cannot be replaced by any other societal actions.

The cuts are not genuine savings; if implemented, they will increase the need for public services. Politicians who decide on the budget for organizational grants are hoped to make decisions that are wise for society and individual citizens. We demand that the government cancel the planned cuts and ensure that the organizations can continue their essential work for the well-being and health of citizens.

Among the organizations that signed this letter were NordAN member organizations EHYT ry, KRAN rf, Raittiuden Ystävät ry, Sininauhaliitto, and Suomen Valkonauhaliitto ry.

Source: EHYT

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