Cross-nations of Finland and United States Comparison Coping with Mental Illness


The burden of depression is rising, affecting both the working and social lives of individuals. Besides depression, many struggles with anxiety, substance abuse, mental disorders, and many other mental illnesses. The effects change individual’s productivity in the workplace and school in a positive and negative way.  The benefits of mental health services have significantly increased worldwide. This analysis will compare Finland and United States’ health organizations in order to provide convincing salience material for mental illness and health. It will be comparing of the countries environment and the lives of mental illness individuals. The sources of articles will give convincing evidence that these actions can help improve quality of life.

In 2001, in the United States, it was estimated that 1.8% to 3.6% of workers suffer from a major depression. Then, 5–6 million workers in the U.S between the ages of 16 and 54 years either lost, failed to seek, or could not find employment as a consequence of mental illness. (World Health Organization, 2003) A recent study from Harvard Medical School says, the average number of work loss days attributable to psychiatric disorders was 6 days per month per 100 workers. Research has shown United States focus on programs and health centers to increase progress help to those individuals. For example, Programmes of assertive Community treatment (PACT) focuses on recovery from illness and enhanced quality of everyday life.

In Finland, authorities are responsible for organizing mental health services and take action to mental disorders. They believe Mental Health is not a permanent or unchangeable state and good mental health services are a basis for personal well-being. The Finnish Association for Mental Health emphasizes that individuals should engage with their environment to adapt to their resources for developing a connection with their lives. According to Finnish Association for Mental Health, there are increasing number of mental disorders and they diagnose their symptoms of the degree of severity.

Literature Review

Framing of Mental Health presented in Finland and United States

According to, framing is used to represent the communication aspect which leads to the people’s preference by consenting one meaning to another. Framing encourages the decision-making process by highlighting specific aspects by eliminating the others. It regulates the audience’s perceptive and the acceptance of a particular meaning. This has the perspective of what is highlighted in mental health in the world. One hypothesis suggests mental health does not agreed with the importance in the local communities. It has pushed over as a weakness and encourages others to be “regular.” The perspective has given a negative connotation. Current standing that it is framed to be not be a strength within each other. It has seen as a default of many people. In some countries, it is framed as a “sin.” Framing can help us disguise what is the opinions of a certain subject. It can help us understand the communication or the goal of the opinion.

In the United States, the frame of mental health has been viewed negatively. Mental Health individuals are grouped into a common perspective of dehumanized individuals and they cannot function in society. They seek focused on early diagnosis and treatment for in behalf of individuals in their own communities. They are viewed as not a valid individual in an organization. However, some do not understand how treatment method should be treated. For example, “Depressive disorders caused by a multitude of factors — biological, psychological, genetic and environmental — cannot be treated by one method or in a short period of time.” (Wellesley News, 2018) They are expected to be cured immediately after treatments. They are expected to attain a job with minimized work ethnics to prove they can be accepted by others. United States have had the view of priority involvement in local charity causes for mental health individuals. The view seems to help become more coordinated and efficient use of money nationwide. Due to the lack of medication and those who become homeless and lost in society, those individuals have been a living in a horrendous system across the country. Lawrence Mullin, a case manager and peer support specialist on Assertive Community Treatment team was quoted that said, “He said people sometimes need to choose between paying an application fee or having food. He said the process is stressful to anyone finding a place to live, but is even more difficult when the stress is added to a severe mental illness. He said he has worked with people who wanted to give up and go back to living on the streets.” (Desert News, 2019) The frame on mental health among homeless individuals has been the least of the worries of government authorities. Even though, this perspective has given the idea that hierarchy still exist in the United States.

Many see mental illness as a special illness and weakness not capable of working as an average human being. The Health Care by University of Utah researched ten celebrity icons who are struggling with mental health. Some of those include; Demi Lovato – bipolar disorder, Steve Young – social anxiety disorder, Michael Phelps – ADHD, Dan Reynolds – clinical depression, Daniel Radcliffe – obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Lady Gaga –PTSD. This study has proven even highly successful athletics or artists can have endure a mental illness. They have been the influencers of the time to prove that struggling individuals are not alone in the world. Icons have made a huge lead in spreading the awareness across America. A mental illness is not who you are but is apart of you. Demi Lovato explains to others, “You don’t have to struggle in silence. You can be un-silent. You can live well with a mental health condition, as long as you open up to somebody about it, because it’s really important you share your experience with people so that you can get the help that you need.”(2018)  It is important to have others help you in your journey. These icons are trying to prove to others in United States that speaking out about mental health is healthy and you should not be ashamed of who you are. Since mental health individuals are expected to keep the silence within to not show they are irregular with society. Many are ashamed of the uncontrollable behaviors within them. These common themes are viewed toward the individuals as incapable and wrong since it was known as uncommon among others. In recent years, the mentality has slightly involved a natural to prove to others that mentality can become a strength. A few in numbers has been expressing their mental illness over media to prove to others they are not alone. By the population, government officials, and even those who suffer mental illness have poorly misperceptions of mental illness. Wall street emphasizes the following, “Partially as a consequence, just under one-third of individuals with serious mental illness — defined as diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders that result in functional impairment — are untreated in the United States.” (Wall St., 2016) In the workplace, individuals are expected not to share so they will not be discriminated among those are in higher hierarchy.

According to the culture in Finland, they see mental health as important as living. They view mental health has a way of life and should be accepted to the highest degree of respect. The perspective of young people and people of working age on their own health status have been increasing constantly in recent years. The common themes have been proving others can improve their health by being open in the workplace and in society. Their health status has been framed as a positive outlook in daily life. Finnish have made the focus on the general knowledge of the whole population regarding the value of good mental health in working life, and develop self-taught skills for creating satisfactory working conditions. They view health have include the important necessity in the home and work place. In 2013 at various institutions, nearly 38,000 patients were admitted with a diagnosis of mental health.

The Finnish government sees the difficulty in identifying a mental disorder. They understand that it is hard to comprehend all mental illness. This is the perspective that not all mental illness can be framed the same way. Many mental symptoms are common to us and we do not realize what we are experiencing to some degree. Everyone experiences stress that affects mental health at some point in life, and temporary mental pain is perfectly normal under difficult circumstances. Nevertheless, when mental health deteriorates, it is important to identify the disorder and to treat it properly (Mieli, Finnish Association for Mental Health). According to the Finnish view of mental health, they see caring for one’s own well-being. This is a basic requirement for a good life. Well-being can be promoted in many ways; humor, culture, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and adequate leisure time.

Mental Health analysis

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has long recognized the importance of documenting the extent of disabilities among the labor force and setting up effective preventive and rehabilitative programs. The ILO’s activities promote the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in mainstream training and employment structures. The salience of addressing specific issues related to the employment of persons with mental health problems has also been recognized. ILO promotes increased investment in human resource development, particularly the human resource needs of vulnerable groups, including persons with mental health problems. Employees that deal with mental health problems and an enterprise’s productivity and medical costs are critical human resource issues. Increasingly, employers’ organizations, trade unions and government policy-makers are realizing that the social and economic costs of mental health problems in the workplace cannot be ignored.

For people who develop mental illness, finding an occupation in the job market or returning to work and retaining a job after treatment is often very challenging. Stigma surrounds those with mental illness and the recovery process is often misunderstood. However, the Modern Healthcare have been exploring behavioral health and the promise of 21


Century Cures Act with the following, “The tide seems to be turning, however, as policymakers and providers alike recognize the need to not only allocate more resources to behavioral health and substance abuse prevention, but also redesign care models to treat the whole patient. In this special report, Modern Healthcare examines national and local efforts aimed at fixing the crisis.” (Johnson, 2013) On the other hand, those with mental illness are viewed as weak and incapable of doing the work compared to those who do not deal with mental illness. The workplace is one of the key environments that affect our mental wellbeing and health. Although it is difficult to quantify the impact of work alone on individual identity, self-esteem and social recognition, most mental health professionals agree that the workplace environment can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental well-being; because mental illness has been framed and perceived differently around the world. Studies want to prove the research of this movement and to help utilize and understand on the same global level. It also seeks to add to the literature on framing in some countries and the worldview’s analysis on mental health.

The symptoms are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behavior and relationships with others. The mental disorders are included, but not limited, by the following; depression, anxiety, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders including autism. These mental disorders have been seen as dehumanization of the individuals who attain these illnesses. They are not accepted into certain careers or jobs and recommended for professional analysists who can further decrease symptoms. Sometimes the world with social them into grouping to determine how ineffective they can be. Resources in many worldwide departments have shown has a prevention and strategies to help mental disorders and ways to alleviate the suffering caused by them. This view is shown as a positive effect to provide the treatments and social support necessary in order to survive. According to the World Health Organization, about a third of the adult population worldwide suffers from a mental disorder.

The World Health Organization and other association have continued their research in order to provide the services and provide to others the salience of treatments. This can be delivered in different culturally diverse low and middle-income countries, where there can be challenges of poverty, stigma, and lack of doctors with specialist training in mental health. The promotion across nations have increased. Research questions are as follows:

RQ 1: How is mental illness framed in Finland and United States?

RQ 2: What is the worldviews analysis on mental health?


For this content analysis, 10 texts from Finland and 10 journal entries from United States have been diagnosed in order to analysis the discourse on Mental Health. They contain data from 2003 till 2019 from both Finland and United States. They came from the resource They have been proven for analyzation for mental health in both countries. They have indent details following results and warns that each country has endured that caused great mental illness. I looked for concepts that gave correct data and helpful comparison for different perspective in the world. I analyzed journal entries that can help define multiple opinions on mental health, mental illness, and mental disorders. I determined why there has been an increase of mental illness in the world today.

These articles included the facts of each country and many opinions why there was an increase of mental illness. United States have experienced an increase in the economy and workplace became an increase importance in the lives of America. In Finland, many have endured many wars and have affected their history. They have been affected from World War II that had increase of depression and mental disorders. This has been passed down from generation to generation. Since mental illness is not only caused from one experience, it can be inherited from ancestors.  Some analysis has shown how individuals can contain multiple mental disorders from certain events. They were coded into various themes of history and life events. They surround the issue and highlighted the event that has increased for many individuals.

With the 20 resources text, I did a contextual analysis. I read the articles in depth to determine what are they truly wanting to say. I found the frame they were trying to portray. I found many were bias in their writings and wanted to have empathy toward those individuals. They were choosing projects to help bring awareness to the issue. I separated these articles into two groups for each country.


To further the research of mental health in society, I choose the following questions. “Research Question 1: How is mental illness framed in Finland and United States?” and “Research Question 2: What is the worldviews analysis on mental health?” These questions gave insightful details and facts of the view on mental health. This helped me discover the analysis of were the world, Finland, and United States stand on mental health.

Research Question 1

How is mental illness framed in Finland and United States?

In the United states, the statistics of productivity in the work place have resources widely across employees. In regard to the decreased productivity at work, the United States have had an impact of psychiatric disorders on work loss days among major occupational groups.  If an employee does not take sick leave, mental health problems can create in a substantial level l of activity and performance in the workplace. The United States view mental illness as increase number of productivity in the workplace and affect industries. Mental health care in America is often inadequate and needs ”fundamental transformation” (Denise Grady of New York Times, 2003). It is a high expectation to do recovery and communities provide different methods for helping people with mental illnesses find work and housing. The report notes that 30,000 Americans a year commit suicide, many with undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses (Dr. Marci Goin, president of America Psychiatric Association, 2003).

The value of the United States views these incidents as a cause to the assumptions of finances mental health programs would decrease due to the economy downfall. As America has progressed, mental health was seen as a weakness and must prove to others they can deteriorate symptoms of mentality.

From the Nordic Welfare, the statistic of population in Finland of 2014, is roughly 5.5 million, and has an even gender distribution. 28.2% of the population are under 25 and 34.4% are under 30. Average life expectancy in Finland is 83.4 years for women and 77.5 for men. In the past 20 years, the difference in life expectancy between men and women has decreased by two years. Finland is divided into 320 municipalities. Only twenty have more than 50,000 inhabitants and 139 have a population of less than 5000. Among young people, one-fifth rate their health as moderate or good, and the figure is one-third for people of working age. Finnish workplace have been enhancing occupational safety and ergonomics, communication, clear goals, independence at work. The preference among Finish people is to provide further training and learning opportunities to promote health. They will be promoting by physical activities, healthy lifestyle, offering rehabilitation and preventing substance abuse. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health recommends good workplace practices and disseminate this information in the community. In this chart, Finland has the most number of psychiatrists per million inhabitants in 2015.

This will increase the cooperation of mental health and occupational health professionals in promoting mental health activities at the workplace. They spend more time on health then being productive at work and school. The priority of productive is viewed first, namely health, and other subjects will follow. The Finnish individuals are not ashamed with sharing their mental illness because they know they can be accepted in society. They are accepted because they have more resources to prove it. The resources understand mental health can be inherit from generations, but also, life expected events. For example, moving to another country, losing your job, family problems, divorced, death of a loved one, and problems at work, etc. This can cause you have symptoms that can be helped within the society of Finland.

Research Question 2

What is the worldviews analysis on mental health?

The worldview analysis of mental health research has come from the website World Health Organization. They have a team called, “Evidence and Research Team (MER)”, who focuses on what is needed and what can they reduce the burden on mental disorders worldwide in order to promote mental health. Their objective is core projects, “Atlas, WHO-AIMS and Mental Health in Emergencies. All of these projects aim to increase the information and evidence base on mental health. In turn, this information can be used to strengthen mental health care systems which will result in better care and services to individuals and communities.” (2019 WHO). Their action plan 2013-2020 has been claimed by Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General. Her team embarks on the international attention on a long-neglected problem and is firmly rooted in the principles of human rights. Their objectives are still in progress are referred to the following: strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health;

provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings; implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health; and lastly, strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health.


The study set out to examine the benefits of mental health services worldwide. This analysis has compared Finland and United States’ health organizations to provide convincing salience material for mental illness and health. The role of mental health in everyday life have shown improvements over the years. The sources of articles have given convincing evidence that these actions can help improve quality of life. The results were common themes with both countries. My beginning research was showing the different care of mental health service, however, both United States and Finland show increasing improvements on the attitude of mental disorders. Even though, there is still increasing number of suicides in worldwide, there is better access to resources. It was impressing while researching each countries goals and vision for better life expectancy. Finland encourages talking to a public health nurse, doctor, or psychotherapist. However, family and friends can be the greatest resource you will ever have. Finland’s institutions showed their deeply compassion toward individuals. They have been the big brother for the great care and appreciation of their citizens.

It was interesting how the United States have gain focus on substance abuse in order to decrease the pathway for suicides. The workplace in the United States have had a fundamental transformation and “patchwork relic” (Denise, New York Times. 2003) of federal agencies in American’s way of life. Each state is changing their mental illness plans to help decrease unemployment and homeless. This diagnosis is inspiring and gives better treatment for those need it in High School. It was shocking that United States still have the wall up when expressing their attitude toward mental health. Even though the National Alliance for Mentally Ill have embarked on visions, the health care system is still limited to those who can afford insurance. The statistics of serious mental illness among adults and children are below ten percent. This statistic makes me wonder if many have not had received the proper the treatment and are not a part of diagnose in the statistic. It is hard to see improvements, in despite of that, it would be easier to express to your family and friends in Finland than U.S. Because U.S. have not taught early on there is benefits to express how you are truly feeling. The workplace environments have continued to be controlled. It is not capable to take off work only if it was physically sick with a doctor’s note. However, you are not able to do that if you need a “personally” day.

It is capable to appreciate others enduring their changes and not to treat anyone differently. It is encouraging for others to reach out for affordable services for the great benefits in Mental Health. Many see mental illness has a harness holding you back, but it can push you forward. Nowadays, many have become more vocal about their mental disorders and have shown life can be incredible if you make it. My implications were impressed with public disclaimers of mental health.


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