KY aims to provide the best student experience around for our members. Our goal is that everyone feels welcomed in our community, and that our students can thrive without having to worry about concerns regarding student life. However, sometimes student life can also include struggles, whether it is with managing your time and energy in the middle of all the responsibilities, finding your group of friends, experiencing inappropriate behaviour by other students, taking care of legal and financial issues or something else.

This is why BeWell, a new wellbeing program was created. BeWell’s aim is to create an open and transparent environment and make the discussion about difficult topics easier. Are you in need of help but don’t know where to get it? Scroll down to see all the wellbeing services offered for students at Aalto and KY. Or need someone to talk to? Check out our Wellbeing tutors below and feel free to contact them any time!

Safe environment

Besides feeling good, it is crucial that each of us feel safe and respected in our community. KY wants to provide a safe and equal environment for everyone and has created a set of rules and wishes for the type of behavior we expect in the everyday KY life. Be sure to check out our renewed Code of Conduct here.

AllWell?

Sometimes it’s useful to see that you’re not alone with your feelings. Aalto University researches the state of study wellbeing by an annual questionnaire AllWell. Here are some figures from 2020 year’s survey for Bachelor level students at Aalto biz. Read more about AllWell here.

28 % are self-critical
20 % are in a risk of a burnout
15 % feel they cannot get support for their studies from their peers

Where to get help?

Sometimes you might feel like talking to someone but have no clue who to talk to or who to contact. To get help in this, please read the following claims. If you identify yourself with the claim, you will find help on the right side of the table. All the help sources, such as “Wellbeing chats” or e-learning materials, are explained below, so scroll down to find more specific information about the suggestions for help!

Question Get Help
I feel like I don’t belong to the student community Wellbeing tutors, Aalto chaplains, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)
I feel distressed about combining volunteer work with other divisons of my life Wellbeing tutors, e-learning material, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)
I cannot get any support to my studies Study psychologists, Career counselling psychologist, Study counselling, e-learning materials, Wellbeing tutors
I have no one to talk about things on my mind Wellbeing tutors, Aalto chaplains, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)
I feel like I’m not accepted as the person I am Wellbeing tutors, Finnish Student Health Services (FSHS), E-learning materials, Aalto chaplains
I need help combining my work and studies Wellbeing tutors, Study psychologists, Career counselling psychologists, Study counselling
I have experienced bullying or harassment in the student community KY Office, AYY harassment persons, Wellbeing tutors, University Chaplains
I have anxiety and distress FSHS, Study psychologists, Wellbeing tutors, e-learning materials, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)
I’m not able to relax FSHS, UniSport, e-learning material, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)
I’m not interested in my studies or I cannot concentrate on them Study psychologists, Career counselling psychologists, Study counselling, Wellbeing tutors
I feel insufficiency when it comes to my studies Study psychologists, Career counselling psychologistS, Study counselling, Wellbeing tutors, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)
I suffer from insomnia FSHS, Nyyti chats, Wellbeing chats (national)
I have lost my control of life FSHS, Nyyti chats, Wellbeing chats (national)
I experience severe exhaustion FSHS, Nyyti chats, Wellbeing chats (national)
I feel social anxiety or symptoms of panic FSHS, Wellbeing chats (national)
I feel distressed about my future Study psychologists, Career counselling psychologists, Study counselling, Wellbeing tutors, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s), FSHS
I’d like to get help regarding my career Study psychologists, Career counselling psychologists, Study counselling, Wellbeing tutors
I need help regarding my finances KELA
I feel like others do better than myself at school Study psychologists, Career counselling psychologist, Study counselling, Wellbeing tutors, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)
I’d like to talk about issues related to my sexuality FSHS, Nyyti chat, Wellbeing chats (national and KY’s)

Wellbeing at Aalto

Starting Point of Wellbeing

 

At Aalto University’s Starting Point of Wellbeing, you can find advice and guidance on services related to wellbeing and studies, such as psychologists, study counselling and university chaplains. Check out the schedule of Starting Point of Wellbeing’s drop-in service here!

 

Aalto’s study psychologists – Study psychologists help you with study-related issues such as concentration problems and motivation, or offer you support if you are experiencing study-related stress, anxiety or burnout.

 

A career counselling psychologist – Career counselling psychologists are specialized in career management issues and support you in career and life planning and transition to work. They offer support in self-knowledge, building a meaningful career, identifying opportunities and making decisions. 

 

Study counselling – You can contact study counselling in smaller, study-related issues.

 

Aalto Chaplains – For confidential discussions on anything you can think of, the university chaplains are there for you without needing to be a member of the Church. They are trained to discuss and help you.

 

Finnish Student Health Service – Worried about a health-related issue? Call or drop by FSHS! An FSHS nurse is also available at the Starting Point of Wellbeing drop-in service at specific times.

 

Unisport – Health center UniSport offers sport facilities at six locations, and they also serve you at Starting point of Wellbeing giving advice on sport-related issues.

 

AYY harassment persons – If you have witnessed harassment or experienced harassment yourself, you can contact AYY harassment persons besides the KY office.

Wellbeing services outside of Aalto

 

Nyyti – Students’ support centre Nyyti offers confidential conversational help, support and an outsider’s perspective on various life situations. You can search for advice on anything from procrastination and time management to sleep and healthy habits, or look for information and advice about mental health.

 

Sekasin-chat – Sekasin-chat is a national, anonymous chat service for 12-29 year-old youth that supports mental health and overcoming mental disorders. You can discuss anything that’s on top of your mind on the chat with trained volunteers and health care professionals. Please note that the chat service is only in Finnish.

 

Mielenterveystalo – Mielenterveystalo.fi is a national service developed by health and social care profesionnals that has a lot of useful information, instructions for self-care, and self-assessment questionnaires. Please note that the site is only in Finnish and Swedish.

 

Hyvinvointiohjelma Oiva – Oiva is a wellbeing program that helps you to reduce stress, improve your mood and get a bit of more good vibes to your life. The exercises don’t only help you to focus, be more present and handle negative thoughts, but also give you tools to recognize negative thoughts and things that are important for yourself. Please not that the program is only in Finnish.

 

 KELA -You can always contact Kela to get on top of your finances. KELA is a Finnish social security service that provides financial aid and other services to students. To find more information, visit their website or check out Kela’s quick guide on students’ financial aid.

Wellbeing at KY 

 

 Wellbeing tutors – KY’s Wellbeing tutors are easy to approach students who are here to offer peer support for you in anything you might have on top of your mind. Topics can include anything from making new friends to struggles with self-criticism. See more information below.

 

KY Wellbeing chats – KY offers different wellbeing-related chat sessions on Tukinet.net with a varying themes such as stress with school or volunteering. You can join a chat session anonymously and participate in the discussion together with your peers and professionals. Check out the full schedule and topics below.

 

Sports and Wellbeing Committee – KY’s very own Sports and Wellbeing Committee “LiHy” arranges a wide range of events to support students’ physical and mental wellbeing and to build a stronger KY community, whether it was a cake buffet or a wellbeing week in question. Stay tuned and join LiHy’s events throughout the year!

 

Wellbeing and sports related clubs – KY has a great variety of different clubs that relate to wellbeing or sports. Join EnerKY’s tryouts or get involved in different sport clubs such as our very own hockey team Hernesaaren Näädät or our golf club KY-Slice.

 

KY Code of Conduct – KY wants to provide its members a safe and harassment-free environment where everyone is respected as the person they are. KY encourages all of its members and partners to read and follow the KY Code of Conduct to help us all in making the right choices in the everyday KY life. 

 

KY’s legal advisor – KY’s legal advisor Matti Marttunen assists students in legal matters in confidence and is on call every Thursday from 16-18. Check out the full contact info here.

 

Anonymous feedback form – Got something on your mind you want to share? Send an idea or question anonymously through the form below for the KY office!

Anonymous feedback form

Material to support student-wellbeing

 

Wellbeing-related workshops – Aalto psychologists arrange a great variety of different wellbeing-related courses and workshops that any student can join for free. Upcoming workshops include for example mindfulness sessions on Zoom as well as a workshop on climate change and emotion. Check out the full schedule here.

 

MyCourses materials for self-study – Aalto offers useful, non-credit courses and materials for self-study. Courses in English include Mindful Tools for Stress Management, Career Planning Exercises, Time-management , and Stress-management. Courses in Finnish are Urasuunnittelu – kohti mielekästä työtä, Omat vahvuudet, Stressinhallinta, Tuumasta toimeen – Aikaansaamisen aakkoset , and Tuumasta toimeen – Ajanhallinnan aakkoset.

 

Material on Into – You can find a lot of wellbeing-realted material on into.aalto.fi, such as Information on study skills and study techniques, links for personal development and career planning, career planning exercises and information on how to make more of your studies.

 

Personal impact courses – Personal impact is a mindset and a movement, and entity created for all Aalto students. Personal Impact gathers together courses that are taught at Aalto that support student wellbeing and personal growth. Courses are open for all Aalto students and have no prerequisites. Examples of courses running 2020-2021 include Itsensä tunteminen ja johtaminen (3 ECTS) and personal development course Good Life Engine (5 ECTS) where a routine is customized around a goal in life.

Wellbeing Tutors

Uni years are often described as the best years of our lives – and no wonder why! However, alongside all the gloriousness, everyone faces struggles from time to time, whether it is due to stress at school or a big change in life.

Wellbeing tutors are here to offer peer support to you in anything you could think of: school stress, worries about finding friends, struggles with self-criticism, or anxiety, just to mention a few examples. Each of the tutors has specialty areas where they can offer the best support possible. 

You can contact any of the tutors freely by your own chosen means of communication, email, or phone. Together with the tutor, you can decide which channel is the one you want to continue your discussion at. All discussions between you and your tutor are highly confidential, and depending on the situation, the relationship can include multiple sessions or meetings, or alternatively build upon one single discussion.

During the Fall, we will be launching a channel on Tukinet.net where you can contact the wellbeing tutors also anonymously.

Wellbeing Tutor

Olli

5th year Finance and Strategy student
0405381268
olli.kangas@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Combining work, studies and wellbeing
-Alcohol and student life
-Volunteering in the student community
-Entering working life

Wellbeing Tutor

Julia

3rd year Accounting student
0469416845
julia.karinto@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Moving and adapting to a new city/place
-Anxiety about climate change
-Supporting your close ones
-Not being true to your own feelings

Wellbeing Tutor

Minni

2nd year Marketing student
0503233419
minni.koivumaki@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Relationships
-Supporting your close ones
-Time management
-Stress and pressure about doing your best

Wellbeing Tutor

Eveliina

3rd year Finance student
0505403722
eveliina.a.ollikainen@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Combining healthy living, goal-oriented sports and studies
-Self-criticism, stress, pressure and exhaustion
-Mental health, eating disorders, traumatic experiences

Wellbeing Tutor

Heidi

4th year Economics student
0442975621
heidi.a.koponen@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Stress and experiences about exchange abroad
-Volunteering
-Social and family relationships
-Supporting your close ones

Wellbeing Tutor

Johanna

5th year Accounting student
0505220120
johanna.j.hytonen@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Mental health
-Learning disabilities
-Self-criticism
-Volunteering in the student community

Wellbeing Tutor

Vilma

3rd year Finance student
0401828292
vilma.niemela@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Combining studies and work
-How to manage when your close one becomes severely sick
-Volunteering
-Self-criticism

Wellbeing Tutor

Elisa

6th year Management and International Business student
0405544066
elisa.jokinen@aalto.fi

I can offer support in:
-Choosing your major and changing your major afterwards
-Progress and delay with your studies
-Volunteering in the student community
-Self-criticism and exhaustion

Tukinet

In September 2020, KY will start arranging wellbeing-themed chat sessions on Tukinet.net. On KY’s platform on Tukinet, you can anonymously participate in different beforehand-scheduled chat sessions and discuss interesting and relevant themes. There will always be a moderator or a professional holding the chat.

Themes for the chats will include for example beginning your studies in a new school, stress with distance learning and volunteering and combining your studies. We will publish the schedule for these sessions here in September, so stay tuned!

In addition, it will be possible to contact KY’s Wellbeing tutors anonymously via Tukinet, and more information about this possibility will also be published later on.

When perfection turns into imperfection

Jan, a native of Mikkeli, is studying for the first year in high school, and today he would have an exam for which his preparation seemed to be insufficient. Experiencing insecurity as a bad feeling wasn’t special, but this morning’s nausea was particularly severe.

Studying in high school had been much more demanding than before and keeping up with the pace began to require compromising his sleep. Or at least Jan had begun to demand it of himself, as his goal was to maintain the school success he had achieved before: both in primary school and in previous high school courses, the average in reading subjects had been exactly ten.

“It was an identity creation,” Jan ponders. “The grades gave the feeling that there is something to master which also received appreciation from the teachers. The grades also made it possible to stand above the bullies.”

“In high school, a lot of the same people from middle school continued, for whom I had always been the ten student in all subjects. I could not lose face and my own position in front of them.”

If in elementary school Jan had experienced that he had not prepared enough for the exam, he might have pretended to be ill in order to do the exam later. In high school, however, the courses could not be left hanging if you wanted to keep up. Because of that, Jan had to go to the test that day, even though his head was still pounding. On the way to school, the feeling only got worse, it could no longer be solely due to test anxiety. Once breathing started to feel difficult, Jan had to turn back.

After that experience, Jan received two weeks of sick leave and was admitted to the adolescent psychiatry treatment queue. However, being on sick leave did not help the situation. On the contrary, the situation quickly spiraled.

“I could cry for hours a day. The feeling was unreal and felt like the whole world where I had grown up and lived in was about to crumble in an instant. And everyone else, however, continued to live in that old world.”

“Suddenly I was completely incapable of doing the things that had been important, and that inability caused immense shame. All I could do was think about why I couldn’t handle everything anymore and what would happen next.”

After two weeks had past, the sick leave was continued and Jan’s mind as well his body began to grow numb to the new situation. There wasn’t an urge to cry anymore, but he felt powerless and nothing seemed to inspire him. The old role as a top student had vanished into thin air, but nothing new had replaced it.

As the spring progressed, the nagging feeling of being debilitated progressively escalated. It became self-loathing, which eventually led to a suicide attempt. Jan was urgently placed in a closed ward and he had access to psychiatric services for the first time. He only got out of care when the summer vacation started.

Roughly six months after the test morning experience, Jan tried to return to high school. His treatment had alleviated thoughts of suicide and the most acute pain had dissolved, but he still wasn’t able to return to his previous norm. Being in class felt depressing and he was shameful of his anxiety.

The difficult months followed one another. Throughout the next school year, Jan was only able to complete a few courses. After a year of no progress in his ability to study again, Jan dropped out of high school. He was left with a certificate of separation full of tens from courses accomplished before the collapse.

Jan, once he turned 18, managed to get an internship from the Finnish Parliament and he moved from Mikkeli to Helsinki. Work, meetings, and acquaintances at the heart of national politics inspired a high school dropout to be concerned about inequality.

Everything looked better for a while, but when the last internship ended after a couple of years, his deep depression recurred. This time, there was no school or family around to look after and take care of him.

The days changed into weeks as Jan spent most of his time in a small studio. The weeks turned into months when the basic activities of everyday life, waking up and going shopping, took all of his endurance.

The heaviness that was present everyday made Jan question his own abilities. It paralyzed him and made matters worse. Depression was no longer about over-schooling, but about depression itself. This was from the experiences that the illness had caused and the life that had been lost because of it.

Today Jan is 32 years old. In addition to a couple of years of internships, he has not been in working life, nor has he graduated as a student. The fixed-term disability pension is reviewed every year, and each time the decision has found that the ability to work is not at a sufficiently good level.

There’s no lack of motivation though: Jan still hopes to be able to study at a university one day and get a job. During the best periods, he has completed courses in evening high school and attended political science lectures almost daily to follow the teaching. Self-directed learning is not only meaningful but also rehabilitative. It directs ideas to the future, so that the information gathered can be put to the benefit of the wider community.

It’s probable that the depression will never go away completely, but it can give way so that in the future, many of the things that are considered part of normal life could happen: a degree and a job; financial independence and self-confidence.

Even more important, however, is an identity that is not based on depression but on competence and character. The stamp of a mental health rehabilitator is difficult to carry for years, especially when you never know how the surrounding environment will react to it. Condemnations have taken place both during first dates and at the pharmacy store. Many have difficulty relating to a disease that has eaten an entire young adulthood.

“Perhaps the idea of ​​an illness like this is just so scary, that other people cannot accept it as reality.”

Text: Markus Nieminen, adapted from Kylteri magazine 4.12.2019