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13/03/2012 - Submitted by: Lassander Maarit

MIND 2012 – National Mental Health Symposium was organized in Helsinki by the Finnish Association for Mental Health 2. - 3.2. 2012. The theme was ‘Opportunities for change – open doors for new approaches’. A poster introducing MHP Handbook was presented by the the National Institute for Health and Welfare. One of the key sessions focused on social media – whether it is supportive or detrimental to mental health. Discussions revealed that social media has many roles and opportunities, even if it can also spread stigma an enable bullying. Changing mental health professional cultures and openness to change were also discussed in a workshop. Crisis support center Osviitta in Tampere, Finland has been cultivating volunteer partnerships with professional mental health workers. Volunteers have can offer time to be present, to listen and to actively engage with clients. Another working partnership that has been increasingly taking foot in the field is professionals working together with peer experts. A training program has been developed based on a pilot project. The program is aimed to people with personal experience of mental health or substance abuse problems either as a service user or as a family member. In conclusion, the symposium gave a promising picture of the new opportunities emerging in the mental health and substance abuse work, supporting the client-centered, progressive and open professional working culture.
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