With becoming independent and that period in life when one is young, come many kinds of feelings and phases. Sometimes the beginning of and process of living on your own can feel scary and lonely. It is also possible that moving out and to another place leads to familiar social networks being left behind and sometimes there just aren’t any mates around. It is important to remind young people that none of the feelings or phases of life last forever. It is possible to elevate one’s own levels of well-being by taking small steps that better one’s own resources. Doing things which feel good for oneself and empower one’s own person in any given moment is also an important thing to remember. It is significant for those close to the young person to remind them that there is hope.

As we know, well-being consists of many small elements. A decent amount of sleep, having physical activity and eating food which makes you feel good are clear themes when talking about well-being. In this chapter we especially focus on mental and inherent well-being. 

Who is going to help, if it seems that I’m not able to manage? If I dare be alone?

Young man with classic bike at beach

Read more about the theme:

Sources of knowledge

For one’s well-being it is profoundly important to be recognised and accepted as one is. Besides this, feeling well can depend on how one’s relationships to other people are, how satisfied those relationships are, if you feel a belonging to somewhere, and what kind of balance there is regarding substances, or for example gaming. Certainly, youth workers can have an important role in supporting young people’s self-esteem. When young people were interviewed, a good question was found for testing the adequate level of self-esteem, that is if a young person feels that he/she/they is equal to other people, at the very least (Gretschel & Myllyniemi 2021). 

The association called Nyyti offers services for students which help maintain their well-being and support them in their abilities to study by distributing information, giving supportive services and opportunities to take part in various activities.

The Social Psychiatric Registered Association of Southeast Finland coordinates a service called tuntuu.fi (In English the name could be translated as ”Feels like”). This service offers knowledge and support for young adult’s mental health and its different components. Everyday life, feelings and coping, social relations, work, studying, and finances but also substance-abuse, and addictions are the titles of thematic blocks offering material for consideration. The content is offered in cooperation with NAL – The Youth Housing Association, SOA – The Finnish Associations of Student Housing Organisations, Ehyt – Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, Nyyti, Mental Health Finland, Finnish Central Association for Mental Health and Kukunori, which is an association for “Culture and Mental Health.”

Ehyt – Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention has published introductory material on prevention in youth work. 

The Finnish Game Educator’s Network has published some material regarding “gaming as a hobby, a sport, a profession, or a potential source of trouble”, as described in one of those materials namely in The Game Educator’s Handbook 1. One of the groups of professionals which has been kept in mind when the handbook was produced was youth workers.

References for this part:
Gretschel, Anu & Myllyniemi, Sami (2021) Kuulummeko yhteiskuntaan? Työn ja koulutuksen ulkopuolella olevien nuorten käsityksiä tulevaisuudesta, demokratiasta ja julkisista palveluista. [Are we part of society? On the future, democracy and public services – Thoughts of young people outside of education and work] Helsinki: Kunnallisalan kehittämissäätiö [The Foundation for Municipal Development.] The publication includes a summary in English.

Pieces of methods

By Mieli, there are also posters to print or to order available in English related to the processes of supporting mental health. These are usable when discussing with a young person face to face or these can just be made visible in places where people gather for services:  

Hand of mental health -poster

Roller coaster of emotions -poster 

Safety net -poster

Coping skills -poster 

The association called Nyyti offers well-being for students by organising, for example Learn Life Skills -courses. The course material is usable also for self-help and can also inspire youth workers in their work. The course looks at well-being and resilience in different kinds of everyday situations such as living habits, routines, time- and stress management but also relationships and social skills.

Supportive services

Troubles and puzzles that require pondering and reflection are always good to talk through with someone, because often matters which seem too complex are easier to carry and solve when broken down together into smaller pieces. Help and support is available for consideration related to well-being, life crisis situations, related to substance use and for example for gambling when it causes problems.

A youth worker, being generally an easy-going person and close to a young person, can often be a natural discussion partner when it comes to the issue of substance prohibition also. In such discussions, interaction and neutrality are key. Understanding that the use of substances is related to behaviour is important, it is not a feature of the young person and it does not determine what kind of person he/she/they are.  Whether a youth worker or another adult, they do not need to know all the details about the different kinds of substances before being able to discuss the use of them. 

Peluuri’s helpline -support, counselling and information about gambling problems by chat and phone are available also in English. The service [which could be called in English as The Gamblers Helpline] is organised together by the A-Clinic Foundation and the Finnish Blue Ribbon association. The service is anonymous and confidential.