We’ve arrived at the time of the year when us Finns hibernate in our homes. Summer is for having fun with friends, winter is for closing the doors and listening to your morbid thoughts, perhaps interspersed by the odd melancholic Schlager. It’s too dark outside to see anyone anyway, so why bother trying?
Fortunately, for many of us, this hibernation is self-imposed, but according to research, one in ten Finns suffers from chronic loneliness. While Finnish people don’t consider themselves any more lonely than their Southern European counterparts, their loneliness more often includes poverty, alcoholism and depression. Professor Nina Junttila from the University of Turku sees this as a result of weaker inter-family relationships. “In Spain and Italy, for example, relatives are very close. In Finland, family bonds are weak and people tend to seek help from friends. Those who have no friends will be left out,” she recently told the Kodin Kuvalehti women’s magazine.