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European Social Fund Plus

A pathway to employment for mentally vulnerable people in Finland

A pathway to employment for mentally vulnerable people in Finland
© Kankaanpään aikuiskoulutussäätiö sr.

People affected by mental ill-health are at higher risk of falling into unemployment, which in turn can have profoundly negative effects on mental wellbeing. With funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) the TUKEA project in Finland is working to break this cycle by providing individuals with one-to-one and group support to improve their physical and mental health, develop their social skills and strengthen their job prospects.

Daniel, who is unemployed, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression before he discovered TUKEA. The project gave him the chance to participate in outdoor activities and helped him build his social skills.

‘We visited multiple nature activity destinations in this area and explored different outdoor activities – for example archery, fishing and e-biking,’ he says. ‘I had a safe environment to relearn to work and socialise with other people.’


The project offers support services to help mentally vulnerable people overcome barriers to work. It helps them to finish their school exams, to learn to use new technologies, and to obtain certain work-related licences, such as those relating to work safety and first-aid. It has also helped people find their ideal profession.

TUKEA also helped Daniel to develop the confidence he needed to succeed. Today he works at the Valtti workshop, where he is much happier and healthier:

‘I have started a new chapter in life, in which I’m feeling mentally far healthier now, I’m able to be socially active again and I feel that I have found my true calling in the instructional working field.’


So far, more than one hundred people have taken part in the project. TUKEA has also found success in supporting vulnerable people to reintegrate into their communities through activities such as group nature walks and day trips, and empowering photography sessions that help build individuals’ self-esteem.

Thanks to the TUKEA project, Finnish people affected by mental-ill health and unemployment are being empowered and supported to thrive in their communities – and careers.

Project details

Project name
Low-threshold social- and mental health services support- and development center TUKEA (S21982)
Kankaanpään aikuiskoulutussäätiö sr.
Project start
Project end
Contact details
Minna Rassi
Total budget
EUR 397 947
EU Budget contribution
EUR 189 025