Thilo Beck at WEF Roundtable - A Roadmap to Sustainable Health and Better Well-being in the Workforce and Society

Goals House Roundtable, World Economic Forum, Davos – Thilo Beck

A Roadmap to Sustainable Health and Better Well-being in the Workforce and Society: Elaborating on Key Points.   We are living through a historical period defined by uncertainty, which is having a profound impact on our mental health. Research shows that – on average, 15% of working-age adults live with a mental health condition globally,…

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Affluent Neglect

Society expresses great concern for poor, underserved children and the increased likelihood they may lack access to health care and education, or that they may turn to drugs or crime in adulthood. Less attention is paid to children of affluent parents who have their own set of problems. Emotional neglect often goes unnoticed or unreported, which may…

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What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph. in the 1980s, is a type of talk therapy originally designed for high-risk, suicidal people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Today, DBT is used to treat people struggling with a range of complex and intense emotions, including substance abuse and addiction, PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders,…

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The Pandemic-Push: Why are so Many People Suddenly Buying Prescription Drugs Online?

Prescription-med sales skyrocket due to the pandemic, but when does use become abuse? Paracelsus Recovery’s experts weigh in. More and more people are illegally purchasing prescription medication such as anxiety or sleeping pills online as the pandemic takes its toll on our wellbeing. The pandemic has left a mental health crisis in its wake. Rates…

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How Finland Confronts the Problem of Chronic Homelessness

Housing First, Finland’s national strategy to reduce the number of long-term homeless, is working just as planned. According to Housing First Europe, there were nearly 19,000 homeless people living in Finland in 1987. As of 2016, the number had plummeted to 6,684 individuals and 325 families.

The number of chronic homeless, defined as those who have been without stable housing for a year or more, continues to drop. Finland is the only European country where homelessness has decreased.

Housing First is based on a strategy to provide people with stable housing instead of transitional or temporary housing or public shelters. The primary principle is to provide people with safe, secure homes as soon as possible.

There are no preconditions or qualifications. The idea is that once people are established in their own homes, it becomes possible to tackle issues such as substance abuse, mental health issues, health problems or job training.

In Finland, Housing First is a partnership of government, communities, and non-governmental organizations such as Salvation Army. Projects are backed by grants and low interest loans. Finland’s slot machine association has also been an integral part of funding.

Tenants enter contracts and to pay rent. Depending on income, they may contribute to the cost of drug treatment programs or other services. Between 2008 and 2015, 6,000 housing units, mostly apartments with some hostels and dormitories, were purchased or built.

Homelessness: A World-Wide Problem

A survey conducted by the United Nations estimated that in 2005, 100 million people around the world were homeless or lived in inadequate shelters. By 2015, the global homeless population had skyrocketed to 1.6 billion.

Housing First was created in the United States as a response to a rapid increase in the number of homeless families with children. The program, which initially involved relatively small projects in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Chicago, also offers case management and support services, thus providing additional stability and increasing the chance of success.

Today, programs are operating in many cities across the U.S., including New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Cleveland and Austin. The result is a significant reduction in costs for emergency room visits, inpatient detox, and days spent in jail or prison.

More Effective and Less Expensive

Placing homeless people in homes is expensive, but it appears that in the long term, providing people with housing is less expensive than trying to manage the problem with ineffective, short-term solutions. In Finland, Housing First has also boosted local economies and reduced employment.

Other countries are observing Finland, and many have adapted the Housing First program to fit their own needs. Projects are operating in Japan, Australia, France and Canada, and more are coming on board.

However, financing remains a sticking point, as Housing First requires a substantial investment. Although many people believe housing is a basic human right, there is also a school of thought that people should find a job or seek help in the form of mental health care or treatment for alcoholism before entering housing.

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