Promotion of welfare and public health

Promotion of welfare and public health refers to actions and measures targeted at improving public health and well-being and narrowing the health care gap. Multidisciplinary and successful promotion of well-being requires a solid framework, skilled professionals, adequate services and resources for promoting well-being. 

A solid framework is based on the inclusion of the management, coordination and planning of health and well-being promotion in the national, regional and local well-being and safety planning. We help ensure this statutory obligation is met for example with a network of contact persons for local promotion of well-being and health.

The promotion of well-being, health and safety is the shared responsibility of several bodies and authorities. We provide support and guidance for local authorities. We also work together with regional and national bodies to promote well-being and health. Experts from various fields and agencies are involved in the promotion of well-being and health, and only a fraction of well-being services is provided by social welfare and health care. 

Our areas of responsibility (education, culture, social welfare, health, rescue and environmental services and environmental health, occupational safety and health and alcohol control) help provide guidance and support for large-scale cooperation between different sectors to promote well-being, health and safety on the municipal level. We have representatives in different local and regional networks and we support efforts to promote well-being and health. We monitor and influence services promoting well-being and health.

Preventative drug work

We plan, direct and develop preventative substance abuse campaigns and programmes on local and regional levels together with other authorities, regional agencies and associations. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is in charge of preventative substance abuse work on the national level, while the National Institute for Health and Welfare is in charge of direction and development. The National Action Plan on Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs and Gambling is one of the ways in which the Act on the Provision of Preventative Substance Abuse Services is enforced. The Action Plan sets forth the objectives and implementation measures for Regional State Administrative Agencies.
 
We direct and support preventative substance abuse work on a local level. A model based on regional coordination has been established for preventative substance abuse work is. Regional State Administrative Agencies have a key role in the model.

Regional State Administrative Agencies:

  • direct preventative substance abuse work in their operating areas
  • plan and develop the work together with other authorities and communities 
  • support the municipalities in their operating area in the implementation and development of preventative substance abuse work.

Regional State Administrative Agencies’ key tools for providing guidance and support are:

  • a network of contact persons working in local authorities
  • proactive supervision, direction and local visits
  • compilation reports on the situations and observations made in different regions
  • joint meetings and training events.

Each Regional State Administrative Agency has a Senior Officer who is, among other responsibilities, in charge of the coordination, direction and proactive supervision of preventative substance abuse work. Each Senior Officer is supported by a cross-administrative working group responsible for the promotion, enforcement and assessment of preventative substance abuse work and the support for regional coordination.

Municipalities have a statutory responsibility to provide preventative substance abuse services. We enforce the execution of the this statutory responsibility.  Multidisciplinary and successful substance abuse work requires a solid framework, skilled professionals, adequate services and resources for preventative substance abuse measures.

Preventative substance abuse work refers to the prevention and minimisation of negative consequences of substance abuse. The objective is to reduce the demand for, and availability of, illicit drugs and their consequences. Another key objective is the promotion of health, safety and well-being. Preventative substance abuse measures are targeted at alcohol, narcotics, tobacco products and other psychoactive substances. Problem gambling and other behavioural addictions are also included in the framework of preventative substance abuse work.

Prevention of violence in close relationships

Municipalities must prevent violence in close intimate and family relationships. The Senior Officer of a Regional State Administrative Agency coordinates and directs a network of contact persons for violence prevention programmes. Finland is committed to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

Violence in close relationships is a significant public health issue affecting everyone regardless of their social class, cultural background, age or sex. Forms of domestic abuse and violence in close relationships include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and digital abuse or destroying of possessions or threats thereof. Neglect and mistreatment are also forms of violence. 

Under the Social Welfare Act, violence in close intimate and family relationships refers to a situation which requires social welfare services. In other words, addressing violence in close relationships is both a right and a responsibility. Municipalities have a statutory responsibility to prevent and address violence in close intimate and family relationships.

Violence prevention is required under international conventions and Finnish legislation. Multidisciplinary and successful efforts to prevent violence in a close relationship require a solid framework, skilled professionals, adequate services and resources for violence prevention measures. A solid framework is based on the inclusion of the management, coordination and planning of prevention of close relationship violence in the national, regional and local well-being and safety planning. Regional State Administrative Agencies direct and support the fulfilment of this statutory responsibility.