Identifying support needs

It is important for professionals to identify customers’ needs for mental health support so that any current mental health problems do not worsen, and support can be offered at the right time.

Mental strain can manifest itself in a wide variety of ways, including

  • physical symptoms such as headaches and abdominal pain 
  • feeling low 
  • problems with learning or memory
  • sleeping difficulties
  • repetitive thoughts that are disturbing or distressing.

The professional can identify both the straining and supportive factors for the customer’s mental health by discussing the topic with both the customer and those close to them. However, professionals should be aware that customers’ individual characteristics and previous experiences often affect how they express mental strain and whether they themselves raise the topic of mental health challenges.

People’s conceptions and experiences of mental health vary greatly

Mental health and mental wellbeing are unfamiliar concepts in some parts of the world. Sometimes mental health challenges can be connected with black-and-white thinking, stigmatisation, fear, and shame. In addition, the availability of specialised mental health services and mental health professionals is poor at the global level. Help is not always available for mental health symptoms or problems, and even if it is, the means used may be ineffective. Sometimes customers also have their own negative experiences of how psychologically symptomatic people are treated. All of these factors can affect a customer's willingness to talk about mental health or use (mental health) services after migrating to Finland.

Professionals’ proactivity in raising the topic of mental health can be very important, especially when dealing with customers with refugee backgrounds. Other key tools for professionals’ mental health work with migrants include working in a cultural-sensitive way and using interpreters in customer encounters.

On these pages, you can find information to support your work to raise the topic of mental health and identify mental health problems.
Raising the Topic of Mental Health
Identifying Mental Health Problems