The new THL study shows that working-age people have an increased mental burden and increased suicidal thoughts.
Only one in two working-age people now feel their standard of living is good, compared to more than 60 percent of working-age people four years ago.
The information comes from the Terve Suomi population survey recently conducted by Health and Wellness, whose survey data was collected between September 2022 and March 2023.
According to the study, the quality of life of people of working age has declined drastically in recent years. Quality of life refers to a person’s perception of their own status – for example, health, well-being, social relationships and living environment.
The study revealed that one in five people of working age, i.e. aged 20-64, experience significant psychological stress. Compared to 2018, mental stress has increased significantly for both men and women: from 13 to 19 percent for men and from 13 to 20 percent for women. The most common mental burden is still among 20-29-year-olds, but it has also increased among 30-49-year-olds.
Also, access to health services has become more difficult, according to the study. Nearly one in four adults feel they do not receive enough medical services for their needs. The share has increased by about 10 percent for both men and women since 2018.
Crises may have spurred growth
Lead researcher Annamari Lundqvist says the results raise concerns.
– The results are worrying from the point of view of the social and economic stability of society, says Lundqvist in THL’s press release.
He observes that the crises of recent years have taken the situation in an even worse direction.
Although there have already been signs of a decline in the welfare of working-age people, the crises of recent years have probably made the situation even more difficult.
According to Lundqvist, the welfare of working-age people should be brought to the core of decision-making in the coming government term.
– The aging Finnish society needs a healthy and functional population.
Suicidal thoughts have become more common
An alarming finding in the study is that thoughts of suicide have become more common, especially among people under the age of 50. Whereas in 2018 one in ten reported suicidal thoughts, now one in eight under the age of 50 report them.
More and more people of working age also said they used health services because of mental health problems. 20 percent of working-age women now say they have used mental health services, compared to 15 in 2018. Use of mental health services among men has increased from 9 to 12 percent.
■ If you or someone close to you is having thoughts of suicide, Mieliry’s Crisis Hotline is available 24/7 in Finnish on 09 2525 0111.
■ If the situation is dire, call the emergency number 112.
■ In a less urgent situation, help can be sought from a health center or occupational health care.
■ Millery’s Crisis Center Network and Suicide Prevention Center provide support to suicide attempters and their loved ones, as well as relatives of suicide victims.
– The implementation of suicide prevention programs is especially important now, stressed research professor Timo Partonen in the press release.
– Program projects develop how someone should know how to care for themselves and what social and occupational health professionals do after recognizing a suicide risk. In addition, we encourage you to have a safety plan in case of suicidal thoughts and to introduce other means of good treatment into the social security services more than at present.
Read more: THL: One in five people who committed suicide went to reception on the day of their death
THL’s Terve Suomi study aims to produce up-to-date information on the health, well-being and services of adults, as well as changes and future developments in them. With the help of research, the long-term effects of the corona pandemic on the health and well-being of the population are also examined.
61,600 randomly selected people over the age of 20 from different parts of Finland were invited to the survey part of the Torve Suomi study. The sample is formed in such a way that the results can be generalized to the whole of Finland.
The information from previous years is based on the FinSote study conducted by THL.