10:42 GMT +323 October 2018
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    Migrants queue in front of a refugee reception centre in Tornio,Finland (file)

    Finnish Officials Call for More Mental Health Care Units for Migrants - Reports

    © AFP 2018 / PANU POHJOLA / LEHTIKUVA
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Finland needs more facilities that provide mental health care to asylum seekers since the only existing unit is struggling to accommodate the increasing number of patients, Yle broadcaster reported, citing officials, on Wednesday.

    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.

    READ MORE: Fake Iraqi-Finnish Marriages on the Rise in Hunt for Residence Permits

    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.

    Lehto, in his turn, insisted that it was important to help asylum seekers with mental health problems for security reasons. However, most of the unit’s patients suffered from depression and were a danger to themselves rather than to others.

    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.

    READ MORE: Nordic 'Hijrah': Iraqis Fleeing Finland for More Favorable Countries - Reports

    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.

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    healthcare, mental health, migration, Finland
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