Wednesday 10/20/21

Study: Covid-19 epidemic hit immigrants hardest in Finland

People of foreign origin claim to have suffered more mental strain and more deterioration in their health and financial situation than the general population
Photo: Pixabay.

A recent study by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) indicates that the coronavirus epidemic has particularly affected persons who have migrated to Finland.

According to THL, concerns about the epidemic, increased loneliness, sleep difficulties, and reduced hope for the future were more common among immigrants than among the general population. People who migrated to Finland also experienced "poorer health and quality of life and greater mental strain than the general population."

"Financial difficulties and experiences of discrimination were common," the health agency adds.

The results of the report are based on the study ‘Impact of coronavirus epidemic on wellbeing among foreign born population.’

Almost a quarter of the respondents reported that the coronavirus epidemic had weakened their financial situation either a lot or quite a lot. The corresponding figure for the general population was just 6%.

"This is a worrying observation, given that the economic situation of persons who migrated to Finland was often below the average for the general population even before the coronavirus epidemic. Difficult experiences often accumulate in the lives of people who already have a greater social disadvantage" says Natalia Skogberg, researcher at THL.

About 15% of persons who migrated to Finland reported that they had experienced discrimination during the coronavirus epidemic. In addition, a significant proportion of those who had encountered discrimination reported having experienced it on a weekly basis.

Other effects

Although the majority of those who migrated to the country felt that the coronavirus epidemic had weakened their well-being, the respondents also included those whose had experienced the opposite. Many people said that they had increased contact with friends during the epidemic. Some of the respondents also reported a decrease in loneliness and an increased hope for the future.

Loneliness increased for 36% of the people who migrated to Finland and 28% of the general population, while 6% of immigrants and 2% of the general population said that it had decreased. Hope for the future decreased for 38% of the immigrants and 30% of the general population, but such hope also increased for 20% of the immigrants, while only increasing for 7% of the general population.

"This can be a sign of resilience in crisis situations. Those who have experienced crisis situations in the past may also feel more strongly that they will get through this current situation as well. On the other hand, crises can also bring to the surface difficult experiences from the past," Skogberg points out.