Debt, substance abuse and mental health

This work package examines the position of psychosocially vulnerable people in legislation. In this context, the term psychosocially vulnerable refers to people with serious mental health issues or a history of substance abuse or indebtedness. Substance abuse, poor mental health, and debt problems significantly limit the opportunities to participate in decision-making. People with these issues encounter a wide range of disadvantages that relate to their overall position in society and their ability to access help.

The analyses focus on:

  1. the legislative knowledge base on the psychosocially vulnerable;
  2. the current position of the psychosocially vulnerable in law drafting;
  3. the implementation and impacts of laws on the psychosocially vulnerable;
  4. the role of ‘experts by experience’, and the utilisation of experience-based knowledge as part of law drafting;
  5. how to promote the involvement of psychosocially vulnerable people in law drafting, including impact assessments.

We provide information to promote legislation that considers the needs of psychosocially vulnerable people. Our aim is to develop research-based solutions to improve consultation with psychosocially vulnerable people and ensure that their role is better understood when assessing the impacts of relevant legislation, from the drafting stage to implementation.

Adjunct Professor Anu Katainen from the Faculty of Social Sciences (CEACG) at the University of Helsinki leads this work package. The postdoctoral researchers from the University of Helsinki are Veera Kankainen (from summer 2021), Lotta Hautamäki, and Kati Nieminen (until autumn 2021); Josefin Westermarck is the research assistant. This group also includes researchers from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: research professor, Pekka Hakkarainen; senior expert, Thomas Karlsson; and senior researcher, Katariina Warpenius. See Research Group [linkki] for more detailed contact information.