Source: Wikipedia.

Finland scheme sees indirect positive effect on people’s mental health

Though a trial program, some Finland citizens receive a basic monthly income 560 euros (£473) every month for two years.

According to the Independent UK,  an official leading the trial has said that as part of a radical Finnish pilot scheme have seen a reduction in their stress levels.

The first of its kind in Europe, the scheme sees 2,000 people receiving the fund and they do not have to report whether they are seeking employment or how they are spending the money, nor is it deducted from any benefits they are already receiving.

Marjukka Turunen, head of KELA, the legal unit at Finland’s social insurance agency, said as well as cutting bureaucracy, reducing costs and tackling poverty, the scheme was having an indirect positive effect on people’s mental health.

One of the citizens, Ms Turunen, who was not able to work because she was caring for elderly parents, told US-based broadcaster Kera News, “I was afraid every time the phone would ring, that unemployment services are calling to offer me a job. This experiment really has an indirect impact, also, on the stress levels (of people and the mental health and so on.”

Under the pilot, participants will continue to receive the stipend, easing claimants’ fears they will lose out by finding employment if they find work.

The problem of refusing work because people feel better off on benefits is particularly acute under Finland’s generous and complex social security system.

The trial is part of measures introduced by the centre-right government to tackle Finland’s unemployment problem, in which more than eight percent, or around 213,000 Finns were out of work in November, a figure unchanged from the previous year.

According to government data, the average private sector income in Finland is 3,500 euro (£2,958) per month.

In April, it was announced that Canada’s largest province, Ontario, was trialling a similar universal basic income scheme.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the scheme was needed to address “new challenges” presented by the modern world.