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Lahendus.net (English: Solution.net)

Lahendus.net (English: Solution.net) is an online voluntary project, which offers supervised psychological e-counselling and information on the webpage www.lahendus.net. It is run by psychology students in the later, more advanced part of their studies. The goals of the project are to promote mental health and well-being and make psychological help more accessible for people in Estonia. To achieve this, Lahendus.net offers psychological counselling anonymously and free of charge via e-mail and introduces psychological help to the general public. Lahendus.net does not partake in interventional psychotherapy of mental disorders, but rather tries to support the client by helping to encourage analysis and self-reflection with regard to their presenting complaint. If necessary, the counsellor advises the client to make a further self-referral to a suitable specialist to further address his or her problem. In addition to this, the project’s webpage contains information on how to seek professional help and includes a substantial database of contacts for psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as references to other relevant social and psychological resources in Estonia. The webpage is available to all users without the necessity to register to access information. However, In order to send a letter to a counsellor, the client needs to register as a user which is a fast and simple process.


Who are the e-volunteers?

The e-volunteers taking part in the project are psychology students from the two main universities offering Psychology Studies in Estonia – the University of Tartu and the University of Tallinn. The project was initiated by the students from the Estonian Psychology Students Association approximately 11 years ago.

How many e-volunteers are involved?

Currently, there are about 50 active e-volunteers engaged in the project. This number has been more or less constant throughout the last few years, although the e-volunteers themselves have changed over time. However, there is one person, who has been involved in the project from its start.

Whom do they address the project to? Who is the recipient?

The main target group is 13-25 year old people in Estonia (“help from youth to youth”). Nevertheless, the project’s webpage is open to everyone and all cases are responded to. As Lahendus.net is an online service this also allows accessibility for Estonian speaking people living abroad.

How do they verify the e-volunteers’ competences before they start the co-operation with them?

There are two admission days every year, when psychology students can apply for becoming an e-volunteer in the project. The requirements for applying are: the student has to be at least on the second year of his or her Psychology studies and has to have taken the basic Psychological Counseling lectures in the curriculum. The applicants are interviewed, where their motivation, expectations and time resources are examined by the head of the organisation’s personnel along with a couple of senior e-volunteers. The applicants are also given an example case to examine (a client’s letter) over a short period of time to allow composition of an answer – this is carried out to evaluate the applicants’ prior knowledge and acquired counseling skills. If accepted, there is a “try-out” period in the project (maximum 40 letters replied to), guided by an experienced e-volunteer who supports him or her before they start to work independently.

How do they ensure the safety and the quality of the e-volunteers’ work?

Besides checking the new e-volunteer’s work during the training period by a senior coworker, the organisation offers continuous supervision by professional psychologists for all of the e-volunteers. There are regular group supervision sessions (about once in a month) held in both cities where e-volunteers can get practical guidelines for their work. There is also one professional supervisor constantly available via Internet for urgent questions and more complicated cases. Additionally, she carries out private supervisions with every e-volunteer at least once in a year to evaluate their work progress and prevent burnout. The online counseling system has many tools to ensure the quality of the provided service (e.g. automatic reminders) and the project’s client work co-ordinator is regularly checking the e-volunteers’ work from the system (e.g. overdue answers etc). In addition, the e-volunteers are offered three training days per year to improve their e-counseling skills and knowledge.

Name of the organisation: NGO Lahendus.net

Project title: Lahendus.net (English: Solution.net)

Website: www.lahendus.net