Everyone must get aid as easily as possible, whenever they want it and need it. The social and health care services must be offered with the “single window” principle in mind. Low-threshold preventive services are particularly important here. The chance to be a face-to-face customer must be preserved, in addition to the use of online services. A well-functioning client and case management are particularly helpful for those needing a lot of aid. The social and health care sector needs to be sufficiently resourced and have a good employer policy, and services offered in a way that promotes gender and culture sensitivity.
A. Therapy guarantee in use in municipalities
Mental health issues affect most Finns in one way or another and are an important reason for long health-related work absences preliminary retirement. For this reason and others, more low-threshold mental health services are acutely needed. The mental health services for children, youth, and those not in employment are particularly deficient. Municipalities must, together with the state, implement a therapy guarantee for accessing psychotherapy care and other psychosocial care at least within a month from need of care being noted.
b. Improving treatment for the elderly in their homes and in assisted living buildings
Mistreatment in the field of elderly care is a serious human rights issue and a shame of the Finnish welfare state, as everyone must be able to trust that they will receive good care when their own strength is no longer sufficient. Municipalities must implement the new nursing standard, simultaneously improving the quality and the availability of home-based care by adding workers and putting resources to improving well-being at work. Domestic services must be developed, and the domestic visits by doctors, home-based rehabilitation and stimulating functions must be a part of the service selection. Employees need channels to report any problems they see. Municipalities must develop intermediary communal living solutions as one alternative to living at home or living in an assisted living building.
C. Increasing resources to services for substance abusers
The substance abuser policies of the municipalities must reduce human suffering and social problems, as everybody has a right to decent treatment and humane living. Substance abusers have repeatedly noted that they experience discrimination in public services. This stigmatization stops them from applying for treatment and prevents the actualization of their basic rights. Stigmatization must be actively reduced by, among other things, training workers of the social and health field in working with substance abusers.
Sufficient resourcing is needed for services to substance abusers and proactive substance abuser work targeting the entire population, and municipalities need plans for combatting substance abuse. Services for substance abusers must be easily available and their reception as simple and straightforward as possible. Relatives of the substance abusers also need support and help. Children’s rights must be a particular focus when planning for services for substance abusers, including extra effort to bolster family services and host care. Municipal substance abuser services include programs for treating addictive gambling and aid for helping people with gambling problems to get treatment when needed.
d. Bringing freedom and support for caregivers
There are estimated to be 350 000 people operating as caregivers for loved ones in Finland in 2018. Approximately 50 000 caregivers have signed an agreement with the municipality. These are most commonly women, over 65 years, taking care of a loved one who has memory problems. Municipality must work to provide services for supporting caregivers and family care. Caregivers can be supported in providing leisure by guaranteeing varied arrangements of a good quality for external care, such as in the house of the cared person. The support for caregiving must be based on the needs of the caretakers, not municipal budgets.
e. Making the strengthening of self-determination the basis of policy for disabled
The services for the disabled must be developed from a customer-centric point of view, guaranteeing people of different ages and different needs the services they require. Disabled persons must be able to participate in making the decisions that affect themselves. The transport services and the guaranteeing of the sufficiency of personal aid is an important way to strengthen the self-determination of the disabled and their opportunities to decide, for instance, on their own leisure hours. Disabled persons that are prone to facing multiple forms of discrimination particularly need special attention to guarantee their rights. An opportunity for wage labour must be organized for everyone able and willing to work by cooperating with the businesses and by utilizing wage subsidies. Disabled people must receive wages for their work.
Disabled people must be enabled to decide for themselves where, how and with whom they live. Moving them forcibly between houses must be banned. Disabled people and their kin collectively need clear information on the existing services meant for them and how and where to obtain them. Municipalities must have separate professionals to advice disabled people and their families. Simplified language must be used whenever necessary. Municipalities also should offer peer-to-peer support, with a possibility of contacting trained experts by experience via municipality.
f. Accessible municipalities
Accessibility and equal availability should be noted in everything a municipality does. This does not only mean elevators and ramps, but it also means, for example, induction loops, interpreting, freedom from fragrances, and simplified language. Public spaces, including educational institutions, also need accessibility, and this accessibility must be well-communicated. The disabled must be able to participate in the events organized by study institutions, municipalities, regions, organisations, and political parties. Work is also needed to change attitudes and prejudices on this issue. The municipal special councils for disabled people and the elderly must be given actual influence. All effects on how this promotes equality within municipality must be evaluated.
g. More places for those seeking security
Municipalities must offer quota-based refugees and those granted the right of asylum municipal placements to allow them to move on from a refugee camp or a reception centre to pro-integration services. Quota-based refugees particularly need more placements.
Municipalities must ensure that new inhabitants of Finland will be able to start living their everyday lives as easily as possible, away from the uncertain conditions of the reception centres. The goal is to confirm municipal placements as quickly as possible for children and families arriving to the country without a caretaker.
h. Housing is a human right
Finland strives to end homelessness entirely within two parliamentary periods, i.e., at the latest by the end of 2027, as everybody needs a home. This means utilizing the “housing first” principle. Homelessness can increase stress and the use of substances, making it harder to maintain control over one’s own life and find work and places of study. Ways for municipalities to combat homelessness include improving the availability of housing counselling and utilizing the forward rental model for housing. Knowledge and understanding of homelessness must be increased within municipal services. Low-threshold, mobile social and health services must be developed to improve the situation for homeless people in need of strong support.