Improving mental health services for refugees in Finland

A good practice from Finland.

Three migrant population health studies (carried out in Finland) have shown there is an ethnic gap in mental health. The PALOMA project was launched to bridge the gap and create a model to support refugee mental health.

To this aim, PALOMA developed two key tools. The first is a handbook, which offers an extensive information package about refugees’ resource and risk factors relevant to mental health. It gives guidelines and detailed recommendations for decision makers, management, and professionals in different sectors for the prevention, recognition and treatment of mental health problems among refugees and asylum seekers in Finland. The second is the PALOMA- training, a free, web-based, and comprehensive training package which gives basic information to work with people of refugee background, and to foster both personal and professional well being for everyone. The next project, PALOMA 2, will be based in all five of Finland’s university hospitals and will establish a Centre of Expertise in Refugees Mental Health Work,

Providing training to the people who regularly interact with refugees on the best way to support, work and live side by side, contributes greatly to the building of an open and understanding community that fosters refugees’ wellbeing and self reliance. This is one of the reasons PALOMA was recognized as a good practice.