Mental health matters – where to turn for help?

March was declared the month mental health by the non-profit association MTÜ Peaasjad, which initiated a thankworthy campaign informing the public how one can take care of mental health on a daily basis, one step at a time. Here is our brief overview of the ‘Mental Health Vitamins’ campaign and recommendations on where to turn for help.

The campaign titled ‘Balance is the main thing’ promotes the five ‘vitamins’ of mental health which support us day by day. Good relationships, sufficient sleep, balanced nutrition, pleasant emotions, and physical activity are the five areas where you should follow healthy lifestyle guidelines to ensure you stay in good shape mentally. The campaign web page features a test for mental health vitamins. This test is not meant for making a diagnosis, but it will help you understand which area needs more attention. The web page and the test are also available in Russian and English.

The symptoms of problems with mental health may start disrupting the person’s daily life at some point. IF you are suffering from an eating disorder, poor sleep, difficulty coping with work and studies, anxiety, absent-mindedness, panic attacks or are victim of mental violence, please make sure you seek help. Everyone can feel stressed or anxious at times, but if you feel your worries prevent you from coping with the routine of daily life, there is a number of ways to find help.

What to do and where to go if you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health?

In case of an emergency or an urgent medical condition, you can contact an emergency psychiatrist in major cities.

Emergency 24/7 help is available at the following locations:

  • The emergency room at the Psychiatry Clinic in Tallinn, Paldiski mnt 52, Telephone +372 6172 650
  • The emergency room at the Psychiatry Clinic in Tartu, Raja 31, telephone +372 731 8764
  • The emergency room of the hospital psychiatry ward in Pärnu, Ristiku 1, telephone +372 516 0379
  • The emergency room at the Psychiatry Clinic in Viljandis, Jämejala, Pargi tee 6, telephone +372 435 4255
  • The emergency room in Narva, Haigla 1, telephone +372 357 1795
  • The emergency room in Ahtme, Ahtme mnt 95, telephone +372 331 1074

If you feel very bed and have no-one to talk to, you can call the ‘Eluliin’ [Lifeline] support line on +372 6558 088 (in Estonian), +372 655 5688 (in Russian, every day from 19.00 to 7.00). There is a separate 24h helpline for children on 11611, where children can call in case of any concerns, be it a problem related with mental health or physical health. In case a person may cause danger to themselves or others, please contact the 112 emergency number.

Unless emergency medical help is needed, the first point of contact in case of any health issues in Estonia is your family doctor. This also applies to mental health issues: do turn to your family doctor first, and they will refer you to a specialist if necessary. The family doctor will be able to determine the problem, give advice on starting treatment and refer you to further tests and examinations. The family doctor can also use the therapy fund to refer a patient to a psychotherapist.

If you cannot talk to you family doctor about this problem for some reason or another, anyone can book an appointment with a psychiatrist at a psychiatry clinic without needing a referral from the family doctor. A psychiatrist is a professional specialising in mental health who can assess the patient’s condition, give recommendations for treatment, prescribe prescription medicines and refer the patient to the suitable counsellor for therapy. Unfortunately, you will be likely to wait for an appointment for quite a long time (1–2 months) as waiting lists are rather large.  All patients aged 18 an older who have valid insurance with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund have to pay an appointment fee of 5 euros at the psychiatrist’s.

In case you cannot wait for 1–2 months for a psychiatrist’s appointment and would like to get one as soon as possible, an appointment with a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist at a private clinic is an option. Psychiatrists at private clinics have the same treatment options as public healthcare facilities, but a fee is charged for admission and treatment. The fees mostly range between 50 and 100 euros per hour, but an appointment at a private clinic may be cheaper or more expensive. Some private clinics have contracts with family doctors, the Health Insurance Fund or the local government, which means that the patient only has to pay a part of the fee.

Useful resources on mental health:  (EST, ENG, RUS)