Mental health matters – where to turn for help in Estonia?

Recommendations on where to turn for help in Estonia when feeling depressed or anxious.

This is an edited version of the article originally published by the Settle in Estonia website.

The symptoms of problems with mental health may start disrupting the person’s daily life at some point. If you are suffering from an eating disorder, poor sleep, difficulty coping with work and studies, anxiety, absent-mindedness, panic attacks or are victim of mental violence, please make sure you seek help.

Everyone can feel stressed or anxious at times, but if you feel your worries prevent you from coping with the routine of daily life, there are several ways to find help.

In case of an emergency or an urgent medical condition, you can contact an emergency psychiatrist in major Estonian towns.

Emergency help

Emergency 24/7 help is available at the following locations:

  • The emergency room at the Psychiatry Clinic in Tallinn, Paldiski street 52, telephone +372 6172 650
  • The emergency room at the Psychiatry Clinic in Tartu, Raja 31, telephone +372 731 8764
  • The emergency room of the hospital psychiatry ward in Pärnu, Ristiku 1, telephone +372 516 0379
  • The emergency room at the Psychiatry Clinic in Viljandi, Jämejala, Pargi street 6, telephone +372 435 4255
  • The emergency room in Narva, Haigla 1, telephone +372 357 1795
  • The emergency room in Ahtme, Ahtme street 95, telephone +372 331 1074

In case a person may cause harm to themselves or others, please contact the 112 emergency number.

Non-emergency help

Unless emergency medical help is needed, the first point of contact in case of any health issues in Estonia is your family doctor. This also applies to mental health issues – do turn to your family doctor first, and they will refer you to a specialist if necessary.

The family doctor will be able to determine the problem, give advice on starting treatment and refer you to further tests and examinations. The family doctor can also use the therapy fund to refer a patient to a psychotherapist.

If you cannot talk to your family doctor about the problem for some reason or another, anyone can book an appointment with a psychiatrist at a psychiatry clinic without needing a referral from the family doctor. A psychiatrist is a professional specialising in mental health who can assess the patient’s condition, give recommendations for treatment, prescribe prescription medicines and refer the patient to the suitable counsellor for therapy.

Unfortunately, you will be likely to wait for an appointment for quite a while (one to two months) as waiting lists are rather long. All patients aged 18 an older who have valid insurance with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, have to pay an appointment fee of €5 at a psychiatry clinic.

In case you cannot wait for one to two months for a psychiatrist’s appointment and would like to get one as soon as possible, an appointment with a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist at a private clinic is an option.

Psychiatrists at private clinics have the same treatment options as public health-care facilities, but a fee is charged for admission and treatment. The fees mostly range between €50 and €100 per hour. Some private clinics have contracts with family doctors, the Health Insurance Fund or the local government, which means the patient only has to pay a part of the fee.

An Estonian NGO, Peaasi – that helps early detection of mental health problems and facilitates access to appropriate help and earlier intervention – provides information also in English on their web platform.

Cover: A couple walking on a beach in Estonia. The image is illustrative. Photo by Mart Vares.

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