By Valo-Valmenus and HUMAK
Our organisation works a lot with young people with mental health issues. Many of them are very talented and skilled, but due their health conditions they have many obstacles in continuation of their studies. Although the education system in Finland offers supportive services for students, particular groups are not visible. We completely miss the representation of young people who are having difficulties and/or are in need for additional support but they are still capable to study at the university. Stereotypically only healthy students are being displayed as capable of studying at the universities, therefor our young people don´t even see for themselves the options for further studies. Co-construction on this topic has hopefully opened up the idea for further studies for young people with diverse obstacles related to their mental health issues. For us as professionals it has been very important to show them possibilities and assure them that they can succeed in their studies. Anyway, these young people are in need for targeted support and understanding from teachers and co-students.
Also, we have noticed the importance of information searching skills. The young people may not have the knowledge of where to find the information about different degrees and courses, even though they may be skilled in using digital devices. Individual guidance and encouragement is very important in finding the right path. The young people need to find reliable information and sometimes help in organizing the information, so that they are able to ponder about different options and make a decision they are sure of.