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Services for children and young people

Published 20 December 2005. Updated 1 November 2011.

If you are a child or adolescent with intoxicant-related problems, there is help available − you needn’t face this problem alone. If there is a youth centre or an A-Clinic in your municipality, you can always turn to them with any questions regarding intoxicants. The services are free of charge and confidential. Help at A-Clinics and youth centres is provided by e.g. nurses, social therapists and physicians. These centres can help the whole family. Treatment at the centres is founded on voluntary participation.

If your municipality does not have an A-Clinic or a youth centre, you can also contact a health centre and discuss your problems with a physician. Also social workers at social services centres can help you with many issues relating to substance abuse or refer you to the appropriate place for further treatment. The same applies to adolescent mental health clinics and polyclinics, as well as to family counselling centres. School curators and nurses can also provide help. Municipal youth workers are also an important link, as many of whom encounter alcohol and drug related problems in their work every day.

Most churches have people who specialize in youth work and are ready to discuss intoxicant problems with you and can help. In addition, some voluntary organizations like Free from Drugs  Irti Huumeista ry provide advice and support for drug addicts and their families. The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare has a telephone service especially for children and young people. You can talk about anything that is troubling you, and remain anonymous if you wish.

Above we mentioned many options to contact if you need help with intoxicant-related issues. Many of them can also help you with other difficult life situations (e.g. sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying at school, relationship or dating problems, or parental substance abuse). Help for gaming addiction is also available from A-Clinics and other organisations.

You can find the telephone numbers of these services in your local phone book. For more information, contact a youth centre or an A-Clinic. If you feel that the outpatient services are not adequate or appropriate, there are also several treatment communities and institutions as well as live-in services in Finland that specialise in the intoxicant problems of adolescents. You can find out more about them from the outpatient treatment centres mentioned above or e.g. here at Addiction Link. The most important thing is that you know that there are many people and organisations that are ready and willing to help.

Esa Tolonen
Social Therapist,
A-Clinics of Kymi

Updated 1 November 2011:
Tuija Vilkko
Master of Health Sciences, Psychiatric Nurse, Development Coordinator
Kettutien erityispoliklinikka/Järvenpään sosiaalisairaala


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