Health and welfare promotion in Helsinki

Photo: Julia Kivelä

In Helsinki, the goals of health and welfare promotion are to improve the well-being, health and safety of the city residents in everyday environments. The health and welfare work promotes fairness, equality and residents’ opportunities for participation. It is used to prevent health and welfare disparities, social exclusion and loneliness as well as to promote the use of knowledge-based prevention methods and models. It also supports the development of a socially, ecologically and economically sustainable city. The health and welfare work is an activity focused on the individual, family, communities, populations and their living environments carried out by the various city divisions and partners working together.

According to the Helsinki City Strategy 2021–2025 “A place of growth”, everyone should be able to live a good and safe life as who they are in Helsinki regardless of their age or state of health. Residents have the opportunity to realise their full potential and create opportunities to increase their well-being. Parity, equality, human rights and experiences of participation are prerequisites for a good life.  Helsinki residents have the opportunity to live safely in a cosy and beautiful urban space in neighbourhoods enriched by unique positive characteristics.

According to the revised legislation, the municipality must promote the health and welfare of its residents and set objectives for the health and welfare promotion in its strategic planning and define actions to support these objectives. The municipality must monitor the living conditions, health and welfare of the residents and the factors affecting them by area and population group. The municipality must report annually to the council on the health and welfare of local residents, the factors influencing them and the actions taken. In addition, the municipality must prepare a welfare plan and report on the above issues for the council during each council term.

Work to promote health and welfare will be led through priorities selected for each council term.

To be promoted in 2022–2025
  • Mental well-being
  • Opportunities for leisure and recreation activities
  • Physical activity
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Formation of good relations
  • Development of a safe and beautiful city

The health and welfare promotion steering group guides and outlines the city’s work for the promotion health and welfare. The steering group has been appointed by a decision of the City Board and it is chaired alternately by the heads of divisions. City-level coordination of health and welfare promotion is the responsibility of the Strategy Department of the City Executive Office.

In the health and social services reform, Helsinki will continue with the current management and coordination model for health and welfare promotion, involving also the Social Services and Health Care Division and the Rescue Department. The operating method will be developed, if necessary, taking into account the revised legislation. As part of the implementation of the health and social services reform, the City of Helsinki also participates in cooperation on health and welfare promotion with the well-being services counties of Uusimaa and HUS.