The debt burden of Finnish households has increased significantly in the 21st century. Concerns and anxiety about financial matters are present in the daily life of many Finns.

Extended financial distress affects people’s well-being and functional capacity. Confidence in a better future is easily lost if one must constantly be concerned about how to make ends meet or how to cope with debt. Increasing debt is also associated with health problems.

The knots of financial problems are often sorted out in appointments with social workers. At this point, the pile of unpaid bills and letters from debt collection agencies may already be rather thick. However, when things are sorted out together, it may sometimes turn out that the situation is not so hopeless after all. Being concerned and worrying alone has usually continued for a long time, but help is available.

Customers’ functional capacity can be enhanced by supporting them in their individual settings as well as by larger improvements regarding the position of economically vulnerable people. Economic social work research pursued at Kokkola University Consortium Chydenius contributes to the development of the working environment and services of social work.

Economic social work brings help

Social work seeks to remove or alleviate problem situations in life and to promote wellbeing. It aims at reinforcing people’s economic capacity, examining the economic realities pertaining to an individual’s life and looking for helpful and relevant solutions in each situation. Different opportunities for getting financial matters in better order are explored and, where necessary, customers are guided to further services. Social work also deals with thoughts, emotions and attitudes that guide an individual’s relation to money and consumption.

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