Feeling good - Northern-Savo
The project is funded by European Social Fund (ESF). The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland, City of Kuopio (coordinator), Savonia University of Applied Sciences and Humak University of Applied Sciences.
The indices describing the state of health and wellbeing show that North Savo is among the regions with the highest
morbidity rates nationally.
With regard to mental health and substance abuse in particular, the situation in North Savo is extremely worrying. The
age-standardised mental health morbidity index describing the mental health of the population is, at 161, significantly
higher than that of the whole country where the average is 100. Reasons related to mental health have also become
the most common cause of sick leaves among the working-age population. Additionally, problems related to the use
of intoxicants and positive perceptions of substance use have become more common in North Savo.
The Mieliteko project (acronym for the Finnish words for feeling good) in North Savo aims at reversing the unfavourable
trends in well-being through all-round cooperation, emphasising preventive and effective measures in the long-term
project package. The project aims to strengthen the mental well-being and mental health of the population of the
province of North Savo, especially those in a vulnerable position, outside working life and unemployed, and to reduce
the use of intoxicants.
The focus of activities is on developing and supporting permanent structures in the municipalities of North Savo,
strengthening networks and working together with the residents. The project helps to strengthen and support the wellbeing
work of municipalities, the third sector and companies in a comprehensive manner. Residents will be recruited
as development planners, actors and experts by experience at all stages of the project. The target group of the project
is especially those outside working life in North Savo, but on a wider scale, the measures target the working-age
people in Northern Savo.
The project activities will start with initial assessments of the residents, where in each municipality, in cross-sectoral
cooperation, we will examine the state of health and well-being in each area, the strengths of the operating models
targeted on them and the areas for development. The project will provide municipalities with support for mental health management and know-how in the charted development targets. The project implements multi-level and multi-channel
communication and interaction by utilising the working methods of social marketing, and this will give significant
support to changes in the structures promoting mental health and a substance-free lifestyle. The two-year Hymiö
project is the beginning of a long-term regional development programme, which will be implemented over the next 10
The City of Kuopio is responsible for managing and coordinating the project, for implementing the operating models in
the municipalities as well as for the project communication. The partners are the University of Eastern Finland, which
is responsible for business intelligence and operating model impact assessment, the Savonia University of Applied
Sciences, which is responsible for the training as well as support for the implementation of effective lifestyle guidance
models and the Humak University of Applied Sciences, which is responsible for the themes related to participation and
cooperation with organisations. A wide range of other actors will also participate in the implementation of the project:
17 municipalities of North Savo, regional educational institutions, the third sector, businesses and, above all, the
Results of the first phase (2 years)
During the first phase of the development programme, the challenges faced by the municipalities of North Savo
participating in the project have been mapped and analysed, and they have been addressed by using operating
models that have been found effective. The trainings carried out in the project have increased mental health skills and
competences and the adoption of a substance-free lifestyle, and the communication has strengthened the ability of the
people in North Savo to change in order to promote mental health and mental well-being. During the project,
professionals from municipalities and other organisations have been trained in mental health management. In the
implementation of the project, the expertise of the third sector and companies has been utilised and cooperation
between different actors has been intensified and the welfare work of municipalities, third sector and companies
strengthened. A key result of the first phase of the project is the set of operating models prepared and tested in
collaboration between the project actors and the residents. These models will continue to guide the activities over the
next few years.