Feeling well

Last updated: 24/2-2023

If you have arrived in Sweden without your parents or guardians you have the same rights as all other children and young people under 18 in Sweden. You are entitled to help and care when you need it. You are entitled to well-being.

There are many people in Sweden working to ensure that you are happy and healthy here. These include the social services, your custodian, and the staff at school and in medical care services. You can tell them if you don't feel well or if you need something. They have to make sure that you get the help you need to feel well.

If you become ill or need dental care

You are entitled to medical and dental care if you need it. This care is usually free if you are under 18 years old. There are many different types of care in Sweden.

Medical examination

Everyone who seeks asylum in Sweden is offered a free medical examination.

Mental health

Mental health has to do with how we feel emotionally. Sometimes you have a lot to deal with, and you may need support. If you have arrived from another country, you may be thinking about some difficult experiences you have had. You may be worried about what is going to happen to your family, or how things will work out in the future. Sometimes you may feel bad without really knowing why.

Sometimes you can do things yourself to make you feel better. There is a website for young people in several languages called Youmo.se. It has tips and ideas for what you can do yourself to feel happier and calmer. On youmo.se you can watch films and read more about what you can do if you or someone else is feeling low. You can also get answers to many questions about your body and about love and sex, for example.

Video from Youmo.se: Have you been through something frightening?

The video is available in Swedish, Arabic, Dari, English, Somali and Tigrinya.

Seek help if you feel really mentally unwell

If you feel unwell for a long time, or if feel very unwell, you should seek help. Contact the medical care services or perhaps ask your custodian or the staff at your accommodation for help.

If you are at school you can get help from a school welfare officer, a school nurse or some other staff member in school health services. You can also contact a medical care centre, a youth advice centre (Ungdomsmottagning) or the child and youth psychiatric services (Barn- och ungdomspsykiatrin, BUP).

Read more here about medical care centres and other places where you can get help if you feel mentally unwell:

Everyone who attends school in Sweden is entitled to receive help from the school health services. This means that you can see a school nurse or doctor at your school. There is also a school welfare officer or a psychologist that you can talk to if you are unhappy or feeling mentally unwell. All school health service staff have a confidentiality obligation. This means that they are not allowed to tell anyone else things about you unless you have said they can.

You can also contact a medical care centre if you feel mentally unwell. The staff there will help you get the right care.

A youth advice centre is a place young people can go to seek help and advice. They are open to young people who are between 12 or 13 and 20 to 25 – the limits vary at different centres. Youth advice centres can help you with many different things. You can go there if you feel worried or stressed and need someone to talk to. You can also go there if you want help in protecting yourself against unwanted pregnancy, for example, or if you have questions about your own body.

Child and youth psychiatric services are intended for children and young people up to the age of 18 who are mentally unwell and need support or care. The Swedish abbreviation Bup is often used when talking about child and youth psychiatric services. In most places you can contact Bup directly by phoning the nearest centre.

In many cases you can also phone the centre for advice. You will then get to speak to a case worker. Sometimes just getting counselling on the phone will be enough to help you, but other times you may need more help. Your case worker will assess whether Bup is the right centre for you or if you should turn instead to school health services or a youth advice centre.

Go to a psychiatric emergency ward if you or someone else is feeling very bad mentally and wants help as soon as possible. You can call 1177 Vårdguiden to find out where to go.

If it is an emergency situation and someone's life is in danger, call 112. You will quickly be given help. If necessary an ambulance will be sent to take you to the psychiatric emergency ward.

Other institutions besides the health and medical care services can also provide help and advice if you feel mentally unwell. There are many voluntary organisations that you can phone or meet to get help. These organisations have their own websites on the internet where you can read more about what kind of help they offer.

Functional impairment

A person with a functional impairment has a reduced ability to function physically, mentally or intellectually. A functional impairment might be that your eyesight is bad, or that you need certain aids such as a hearing aid or a wheelchair. It can also mean that you need other people to help you manage your everyday life.

If you have a functional impairment you have special rights during the period you are an asylum seeker. Your social welfare officer is responsible for helping you get the right support if you have a functional impairment.

If you have been granted a residence permit and are registered as resident in a community you are entitled to further support.

Subjected to violence

Using violence, threatening or harming others is forbidden. Violence comes in different forms, including physical, mental, sexual, financial and material violence. If you have been subjected to violence you are entitled to protection and support.

Alcohol, narcotics, doping, tobacco and gambling

Lifestyle habits are habits that have a considerable impact on our health. Smoking, alcohol and narcotics can contribute to ill health. Gambling can also lead to problems and ill health.