Social exclusion – a problem too big to solve?

I read an article on Helsingin Sanomat about social exclusion. The article presents the risks, different aspects concerning the problem and suggested that something has to be done to prevent further problems.

“There are about 10000 families in Finland whose children have a high risk of social exclusion. There are several factors concerning poverty, the parents’ mental health and low education level that put a load on their everyday life.” (HS 5.6.2019)

The stress level on families seems to vary depending on where the family lives. Deprivation of the families would appear to be a bigger problem in Lapland and in Eastern Finland whereas Ostrobothnia, the Western part of Finland is doing better. (HS 5.6.2019)

Social exclusion and deprivation are also hereditary which means they are often passed on from one generation to another. Mental healt issues, poverty, even single parenthood tend to run in families for generations. The families simply don’t have the energy, resources and ability to give their kids more tools to deal with than they had as kids.

Just one risk factor, for example poverty might still be handled in the family. The essential problem causing social exclusion is the lack of routine and overall life management. The parents are too tired and simply don’t have the mental resources to recognize the child’s changing needs and give positive feedback in everyday life situations. When the problems in life pile up, keeping up with routines such as bedtime stories, helping with schoolwork, offering hobbies or even brushing the child’s teeth can be too much. (HS 5.6.2019)

The problems concerning social exclusion are naturally a big challenge. The main issue isn’t the lack of knowledge. It is commonly known that more resources, more money should be directed to preventive services for families in risk of social exclusion. Mental health issues should be dealt with immediately, many kinds of guidance and practical help services should be arranged.

These are fine thoughts which I’m sure we can all agree on. But when seeking the instance willing to take responsibility for actually executing these changes in our service system no hands are raised. Nice words and beautiful thoughts are worth nothing. As long as the government is not willing and able to look further than their four-year service period, we will never solve this. I can’t help but wonder: is it impossible to make long term decisions and plans that might not be financially profitable today but definitely will be in the future?

Generations before us worked hard to build the best country in the world by investing on education, health care services and made it possible for the maximum number of people to be able to take part in building this society. The stupidest, the scariest thing to do is to cut finances from the youth and the kids for they are our future, the ones we’ll depend on as we grow old. But is there anyone to depend on when our governments, one after another lately, seem to consist of a bunch of short-sighted cowards? Whenever one government makes a decision, a good or a bad one, the next one will repeal it.

But what to do, how can things change? One thing is sure. Not by writing this blog. I too am a lazy coward for complaining about issues that I have no intention to try to make an actual change on.