From Iceland — Mental Health Support Service To Close, Protests Planned

Mental Health Support Service To Close, Protests Planned

Published April 9, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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An organisation that has provided mental health support services for the past 15 years may soon be no more, and Icelanders are planning on protesting the decision.

Hugarafl has, for the past 15 years now, been providing counseling, support and job placement for Icelanders who struggle with mental illness. This they have been able to do thanks to support from both national and municipal authorities. However, that support is about to be cut off, which will lead to Hugarafl having to shut down, affecting some 800 clients.

Vísir reports that financial support from the Ministry of Welfare to Hugarafl will be cut by some 2.5 million ISK this year. Furthermore, RÚV reports that Reykjavík area health clinics have decided to end their cooperation with Hugarafl. This effectively pulls the rug out from under Hugarafl, compelling them to cease operations.

“We have repeatedly sought answers from both the Minster of Welfare and the Minister of Health, but have received no response, no reasoning behind this decision,” Sigurborg Sveinsdóttir, who sits on Hugarafl’s board, told reporters. “By ending this cooperation, we are taking a step backwards, in my estimation. The health clinics have housed Hugarafl, so we’re in a state of uncertainty about where we will be and how we will continue operations.”

In response, a silent protest will be held outside of the Ministry of Welfare at Skógarhlíð 6 tomorrow, from 13:00 to 13:30. It is hoped that this protest will bring attention to the importance of this organisation for the hundreds of clients they serve.

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