THL awarded the Public Health Award to K-Market stores’ Anti-bullying zone policy

Publication date 19 Sep 2022

The 2022 Public Health Award has been awarded to K-Market stores’ Anti-bullying zone policy. Markku Tervahauta, Director General of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), made the decision on granting the award. Head of Unit Anne Lounamaa presented the award at the National Public Health Day on 19 September. The Public Health Award awarded by THL is a recognition of nationally significant work carried out to promote public health.   

K-Market stores’ Anti-bullying zone means that the stores offer children and young people who are bullied a safe place that always has a caring adult. According to the grounds for the award, the policy demonstrates that the health and well-being of children and young people can be promoted in all sectors of society. K-Market stores have prominently sparked societal discourse on the prevention of bullying and have also offered others a policy for intervening in bullying.

Anti-bullying zone originated in 2020 from the K-Market in Tervakoski, and it has been introduced as a permanent policy in all nearly 800 K-Market stores around Finland since autumn 2021. 

-    All adults have a responsibility to intervene in bullying. As THL’s recognition shows, bullying is also a big issue in terms of public health. K-Market stores are actively involved in their communities, and that is visible in all their activities. Although a store alone cannot solve the bullying issue, we want to set an example by preventing bullying and encourage everyone to participate, says Managing Director Jesper Åberg from K-Market.

K-Market stores’ partner, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL), has supported retailers and store staff in developing and implementing the policy and tailored training for retailers in dealing with bullying situations. The Checklist for a caring adult produced by MLL contains advice on how everyone can act when they encounter bullying. Contact cards for MML’s Children’s and young people’s helpline and chat and Anti-bullying zone posters have also been distributed to the stores.

-    Bullying observed in a store may be an isolated, unfortunate situation, but it may also be related to long-term bullying. Many children and young people need a channel where they can get help after an acute situation. MML’s Children’s and young people’s helpline and chat offer confidential discussion assistance with a trained, volunteering adult or professional, says Head of Helplines and Digital Services Tatjana Pajamäki from MLL.

The Public Health Award was awarded this year for the eighth time. Last year’s award was awarded to Sekaisin Kollektiivi’s Sekasin chat service.

This year, the theme of the National Public Health Day is to reduce health inequalities. The programme can be followed online on 19 September 2022 from 9:00 to 15:45. After the event, a recording will be available online. 
National Public Health Day (in Finnish)

Further information

Well-being of children and young people – School Health Promotion study 2021. Large share of children and young people satisfied with their lives – a sense of loneliness has become more common. Statistical report 30/2021, THL. 

Checklist for a caring adult. The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare. (in Finnish)  

Päivi Mäki
Development Manager
Tel. +358 29 524 8612
[email protected]

Magdaleena Ignatius
Communications Manager 
K Group, Grocery Trade Division
Tel. +358 41 543 8602
[email protected]

Leena Poutanen
Director of Communications and Fundraising 
The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare
Tel. +358 50 598 0601
[email protected]

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