The Emergency Youth Shelters’ on-call services offer help for loneliness, including over Christmas

Hanna Linnakko
Image: Hanna Linnakko

Many young people spend their Christmas alone, against their will. Every year, young people with nobody to spend the holidays with gather at the Red Cross Youth Shelter’s Christmas on-call service. For some, home might be too uncomfortable. At the Shelter, the young can spend their Christmas in a safe environment and discuss their worries with reliable adults.

Spending Christmas alone can be a mentally harmful experience for a young person. The feeling of being an outsider is often emphasised during national holidays, when others gather with their families.

The Youth Shelters in Espoo, Tampere, and Turku are open around the clock during Christmas time, offering a safe environment for young people to spend their holidays in. Crisis and family workers are always present at the Youth Shelters, as well as trained volunteers, with whom the young people can talk about their problems.

– During Christmas time, young people come to the shelters mostly because they feel lonely, or when there are disputes in the family. Christmas can be a long time for anyone to deal with alone, if the situation is difficult. The Youth Shelters offer help immediately, says Erja Anttila, head of Youth Shelter operations.

Supporting Finnish young people for over 20 years

For over 20 years, Youth Shelters have offered quick, low-threshold crisis and conversational help free of charge for young people under 21 and their families. No referral or appointment is needed. The young people can even stay the night at the shelter, if necessary.

– In addition to conversational help, the shelters offer support for developing independence and finding a daily rhythm, as well as friend and group activities. All our services are customised for our customers, Anttila points out.

Around-the-clock Christmas on-call service

In the Helsinki region, the Christmas on-call services are centralised in Espoo. The Leppävaara Youth Shelter is open from 5 pm on 23 December through to 10 am on 27 December. Any young people or their families who live in Helsinki, Espoo, or Vantaa are welcome if they need help. The Helsinki and Vantaa Shelters open at 5 pm on 27 December as usual.

The Youth Shelter in Turku is open from 5 pm on 23 December to 10 am on 28 December, after which the normal opening hours apply.  The Tampere Youth Shelter is open from 4 pm on 24 December to 10 am on 26 December. On 26 December, the Shelter opens again at 5 pm as usual.

The Espoo, Tampere, and Turku Shelters also have a telephone answering service that is operational throughout Christmas time. In addition, the trained volunteers at the Shelters organise an open chat from 3 pm to 6 pm on 25 December.

Youth Shelter, Espoo
Läkkisepänkuja 2 A, 02650 Espoo
tel. 09 8195 5360

Youth Shelter, Tampere
Hämeenkatu 22 C, 33200 Tampere
tel. 040 556 6661

Youth Shelter, Turku
Yliopistonkatu 24 A 15, 20100 Turku
tel. 02 253 9667