More than a century of voluntary mental health work

For more than a century, the Finnish Association for Mental Health, FAMH, has worked in mental health as an innovator and inspirer. Founded in 1897, FAMH is the oldest voluntary mental health organisation in the world. Its original name was ‘Association for the protection of the insane’ and its purpose was to provide
assistance to recovering patients released from mental institutions.

From the beginning its goal has also been to disseminate information on mental health to professionals and the public at large. As mental health care has improved and society changed, FAMH’s interests and concerns have extended and it has adopted new objectives.

The way it has changed its name reflects the changes in the attitudes toward mental health work in Finland. The name was first changed in 1919 to ‘Association for the health of the soul’. That meant shifting the focus from providing assistance to recovering patients to education. The next change took place in 1939 and reflects the importance of preventive work; the new name was ‘Association for combating nervous and mental diseases’.

The current name, The Finnish Association for Mental Health, was adopted in 1952.