Ask the Doctor. Mental Hygiene Among the Young in Fin-de-Siècle Finland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The turn of the twentieth century in Finland saw an increasing number of popular articles and books on health, which were published within the broader framework of ‘social hygiene’ and aimed at children, young people and their families. This article examines how young people articulated concerns about their own mental health in the context of these campaigns to improve social hygiene. Based on an extensive body of original sources consisting of medical advisory material and letters written by the young, the study reveals how young people saw themselves in this health context—especially when writing about their ‘nerves’ or ‘nervousness’. Drawing on more recent methodological investigations in the history of childhood, this study adds the much-needed perspective of the young people themselves as subjects experiencing these problems, to counterbalance the otherwise exclusively expert discourses on the subject of mental hygiene.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Aug 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • mental hygiene
  • young people
  • patient letters
  • nervousness
  • social medicine
  • Fin-de-Siècle
  • Finland
  • Konrad ReijoWaara

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3


Dive into the research topics of 'Ask the Doctor. Mental Hygiene Among the Young in Fin-de-Siècle Finland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this