The facility, located in the city of Lahti in southern Finland, had only 20 beds, the Yle broadcaster reported.
The outlet stated, citing Kimmo Lehto, the chief of a reception center for asylum seekers in Lahti, supervised by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), that another facility was required in order to cope with the growing number of asylum seekers in need of support and counseling. The agency requested additional funding for this from the Finnish Interior Ministry, Lehto said.
The Lahti mental health care facility’s annual budget currently stands at 1.3 million euros ($1.5 million), which is spent on personnel costs. The daily per-client cost at the facility is 200 euros, which is more than 55 euros at regular facilities. Still, treating patients in the unit is less expensive than placing them in 24-hour care at a hospital, according to Lehto.
"There is a constant queue at the facility," Migri's senior inspector Paivi Hieta said, as quoted by Yle.
Johann Kiander, who works for the Lahti reception center, has said that those who address the Lahti special support unit had endured suffering in the past or were experiencing negative emotions over their rejected asylum applications.
"Some have endured dangerous trips across the continent or are victims of trafficking. Others are traumatized by war or worry about missing relatives," Kiander pointed out.
According to Yle, the rate of asylum denials in Finland is high. Out of the 11,400 people currently located in the country’s reception centers, 9,000 received denials on their applications. Since many reapply for asylum, the process can last for years.
Issues related to migrants and asylum seekers have been attracting the attention of European officials since 2015, when hundreds of thousands of people began arriving in EU countries after fleeing ordeals and crises in their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa.