The nearly 200-year-old Lapinlahti hospital was built in 1841 by the czar’s decree as the first specialised psychiatric hospital in Finland, then part of the Russian Empire. It’s located to the east of the Helsinki city centre, by the Lapinlahti bay and near the Hietaniemi cemetary.
The main building, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, served as a hospital until 2007 when the City of Helsinki decided that it had become too old and no longer suitable for its original purpose. The last patients of the hospital were relocated in 2008 after the polyclinic for eating disorders was moved to the Psychiatric Centre of the Helsinki University Teaching Hospital, the former Hesperia Hospital.
Now, Lapinlahden Lähde operates in Lapinlahti as a centre for mental well-being and hosts various, often free, events. It stems from the initiative of the Pro Lapinlahti mental health association and the Finnish Association for Mental Health, and its main objective is to preserve the old hospital building as a guardian of mental health and welfare.
The north wing of the hospital is controlled by Osuuskunta Lapinlahden Tilajakamo, the Lapinlahden Lähde Co-operative, which leases offices to artists, musicians etc. Lapinlahden Lähde Oy is a nonprofit societal company.
Its mission is to facilitate activities that support mental health with economically sustainable means at the former psychiatric hospital of Lapinlahti. Lapinlahden Lähde has signed a rental contract with the city of Helsinki and pays rent for the spaces in use.
Lapinlahden Lähde Oy is a subsidiary of the Finnish Association for Mental Health. Lapinlahden Lähde houses approximately 200 operators in the fields of art, culture and health. Pro Lapinlahti mielenterveysseura ry (Pro Lapinlahti Mental Health Association) organises events, projects and volunteer work for Lapinlahden Lähde.