Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 497–503 | Cite as

Experiences of a Mental Health First Aid Training Program in Sweden: A Descriptive Qualitative Study

  • Bengt Svensson
  • Lars Hansson
  • Sigrid Stjernswärd
Original Paper


Restricted mental health literacy and stigma are barriers to treatment of mental disorders. A Mental Health First Aid training program was tested for implementation in Sweden among employees in the public sector. The aim of the present qualitative study was to explore participants’ experiences of the program in more depth, in conjunction with a randomized controlled study. Twenty four persons participated in a total of six focus groups 6–8 months after program participation. Data were analyzed using content analysis. The analysis resulted in five categories illustrating the participants’ experiences of the course: increased awareness, knowledge and understanding; influence on attitude and approach; tool box and confidence; feedback on content and layout; and tangible examples of applied knowledge. The most central finding is the fruitfulness of the program’s practical focus and use, the increased confidence and inclination to act following program participation, and the importance of experienced instructors.


Attitudes Mental health literacy Mental health first aid Public sector Qualitative Stigma 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bengt Svensson
    • 1
  • Lars Hansson
    • 1
  • Sigrid Stjernswärd
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden

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