Many young adults are concerned with questions related to independence, work, studies, finances, health, and wellbeing. Our social and health care experts answer questions on these and many other topics at the chat for young people on weekdays 12 – 15.
The chat for young people was opened in spring 2020 and it’s now operating at the new website Young people's Helsinki (in Finnish). Besides the chat, the new website also has information about other topics related to the lives of young people, such as contraception, leisure time and coping.
The experts working at the social and health care division in Helsinki have been collecting good experiences from working with the chat for over a year. In the best cases, an expert from social services and health care will help the young person. Those working with the social and health care services for young people have noticed that no topic that comes up in the chat is new or strange even if the stories and experiences of young people are often touching. Young people can quite often be left alone with their experiences and feelings when it comes to, for example, bullying. The chat for young people is both a shoulder to lean on as well as a channel that helps clients find the right services.
Senior Social Worker Sanna Salminen, who is responsible for the chat, says that the most common topics are bullying, contraception and sexual heath, and anxiety. Questions about work, living and becoming independent come up. Young people regularly leave the chat feeling good even if the topics can be tough.
– Young people often have experiences of not being heard or seen the way they are. Many conversations in the chat are about how young people don’t feel that they trust adults or authorities. The trust is often slowly built during the conversation. It’s important to build this trust towards adults with new services, such as the chat, Salminen says.
The Social and health care division in Helsinki wants to use the chat to lower the threshold for young people to access services. Users can identify themselves in the chat, which means that they can book appointments to find out more about certain issues, e.g. social work for young people or student health care.
The chat is mainly available in Finnish. Depending on the language skills of the people working it’s also possible to get service in Swedish or English.
Picture: Maija Astikainen