Five nights to go until the Finnish parliamentary election!
In this text, the third and last part of my blog series about the Finnish student movement’s parliamentary election themes, I’ll write about students’ livelihood and the actions that should be taken during the upcoming electoral term to support young adults’ mental wellbeing.
Being punished for being too hard-working
In recent years, there have been plenty of funding cuts that have affected young people and their livelihoods. The funding for institutions of higher education has been cut, which has reduced the quantity of in-person instruction. Student aid has been cut to the point that students must take student loans to afford everyday expenses such as food and housing.
Instead of taking a loan, you can of course work for your living. Unfortunately, in the Finnish system, hard work doesn’t pay off. Instead, your student aid will be suspended and even recovered if you earn too much money besides your studies, even when your studies are progressing as they should at the same time. Why is this accepted? Why on earth are students punished for being too hard-working?
Not to mention that making students’ livelihood a constant balancing act in between earning too little and too much is certain to have an increasing effect on students’ anxiety and mental health problems.
More money, better social security
It’s high time to stop cutting from students! In the months preceding this election, we’ve heard promises to raise pensions, but improving students’ livelihoods doesn’t seem to be of any particular interest to political parties.
It seems like students are thought of as a lesser group of people who are not entitled to a similar level of livelihood as other Finns. It’s easy for decisionmakers to say that students are Finland’s future and the taxpayers of tomorrow, but investing in their livelihoods and wellbeing seems way more difficult to do.
During the upcoming electoral term, it’s high time for a €100 raise to student aids. The raise will patch up previous cuts and the overall rise in prices. This, however, is not enough. In the upcoming social security reform, it’s time to treat students as equals and keep them in mind when creating new social security legislation.
Students deserve to have basic subsistence during their studies so they can focus on studying instead of working and worrying about their income.
Solutions for mental health problems needed!
In recent years, young adults’ mental health problems have increased. During the upcoming electoral term, the government needs to take action to fix and prevent these problems.
Student health care needs more resources to effectively recognize and help with issues of mental health. What’s more, there should be a new law that states the maximum students per educational psychologist quota in institutions of higher learning.
The government should also make sure that mental healthcare is available within a month of diagnosing a mental health issue. People under 29 years of age should be offered free access to psychotherapy. Making therapy accessible will certainly be worth the expense when the number of young adults eligible for disability pension is reduced.
Every vote counts
Today, Tuesday the 9th of April, is the last day to vote in advance. Election day is Sunday the 14th of April.
This election defines the path Finland will be taking, not only for the next four years but for a much longer time. Everyone eligible to vote has the change to determine which course Finland will be taking, both in domestic and international policy.
Unfortunately, young Finnish adults have been very inactive voters. This is reflected in the high average age of the members of the Finnish parliament, and it means there are more representatives in the parliament to advocate for the older generation than there is for young adults.
Let’s not leave the issues that affect us all in the hands of middle-aged people alone. Dear reader: if you’re eligible to vote in Finland, now is your chance to make a difference. Your vote has an effect on all our futures.