Academic community touched by war

In one way or another, we all become faced with the war in Ukraine. We are people working and studying at the university but, first and foremost, we are human beings with our unique thoughts and feelings. We all carry our life history and memories with us, and for some, the war may bear a particular significance. Some of us are directly and personally affected by the crisis, while others worry about its consequences for society and the world.

None of us can escape the graphic images of the war, and our emotions may overwhelm us. The general mood and atmosphere are inevitably affected by the stress and concern. It is important that we don’t treat each other based on beliefs or assumptions of our nationality or any other factor related to our background. We can, as a community, take the time to listen and understand one another.

It is natural to feel concerned in a concerning situation. Unexpected emotions may arise, and under stress, we may even be surprised by own behaviour. It is okay to stop and listen to our feelings and thoughts of concern. It is also good to talk about them with the people that are close to us, including our co-workers and fellow students.  Yet, it is also important to limit our exposure to the news.

There has been a lot of information in the media about how important it is to strengthen children’s sense of security. Strengthening the same kind of sense of security is worthwhile also for us adults, and within our community.  Ordinary everyday things, hobbies and routines are good for calming one’s mind.

Fostering compassionate interaction as part of our work and study culture is particularly important right now. Communicating encouragement and caring will alleviate tensions, both of the body and of the mind.

We can foster compassion in our community by doing these simple things:
We ask one another about how we are doing and feeling.
We can take a moment to listen to one another.
We can ask how we can help with small things.
We can speak nicely and with compassion to ourselves.

We should also remember our need to recover and be present for the people close to us.

All normal support services are available to our community to support student and staff well-being. Especially worth mentioning are the Finnish Student Health Service, FSHS, and the Student2Student service providing peer counselling:  Members of the staff, on the other hand, shouldn’t hesitate to contact occupational health care:

Campus pastors are also available for personal conversation:

Other good sources of support include the Mieli Mental Health Finland’s website at (also available in Russian and Arabic), and the website of the Finnish Red Cross at

You may also want to contact the Crisis Helpline by calling +358 925250113.

The following websites provide good advice on how to deal with these issues. Additionally, as these issues may cause concern among young ones close to you, these websites provide information on how discuss the war with children and adolescents.

Read more:


Katri Ruth
Study Psychologist, UEF


It is time for caring and listening to one another

The act of violence that took place at Savo Vocational College in Kuopio this Tuesday (1 Oct 2019) will have a long-lasting effect on our community and society. On behalf of all those promoting student well-being at UEF, we’d like to remind our students that no one should feel left alone with what they are going through.

It is normal to have different kinds of emotions, thoughts and bodily feelings after a sudden and shocking event. People have their own, unique ways of reacting to things. It is important to understand that your reactions or those of others may be strong even if you were physically safe at the time. The thought of what could have happened is enough to stir emotions. The act of violence can also bring up thoughts and memories, which ought to be addressed as they come to mind. Typically, our body becomes more sensitive to pick up “signs of danger” in our surroundings, and this can lead to fear and concern. That’s when it’s important to remind ourselves of the people and things that create a sense of security in our own lives. Often, talking about things helps to structure them. It is a good idea to take care of yourself also otherwise, for example by sticking to your everyday routines.

Below this post you can find a link to instances that offer support in Kuopio and in Joensuu, as well as the contact details of the nationwide crisis helpline.  Following the attack-related news in moderation and finding out about normal reactions to a crisis can also help to understand what you and those around you are going through in a situation of crisis.

Let’s take care of each other and all members of our community!

Educational Psychologists Katri Ruth and Mari Tirronen



Acute crisis support relating to the attack in Savo Vocational College:
The City of Kuopio’s  Social Security Department has opened an emergency number on +358 44 718 3930 relating to the attack. This number is intended for calls relating to the Savo Vocational College attack only (no text messages).

Other sources of help and support: