Pilot Study - Mental Health First Aid

The Mental Health First Aid Training and Research Program (MHFA) was designed in 2001 by Betty Kitchener and Professor Antony Jorm in Australia. In subsequent years, the program has been developed and evaluated scientifically and is used in 30 countries around the world.

MHFA Sweden logo

What is Mental Health First Aid?

The goal of the program is to save lives by increasing public awareness of mental illness, suicide attempts and suicide.

Youth version of MHFA (MHFA Youth)

A youth version of MHFA is specifically geared for adults who have contact with young people (between 12-18 years), which may be parents but also others, such as teachers, other school personnel, social workers, sports coaches, and others. First aid for mental health is given to the young person who needs help with mental health problems or having to deal with an acute psychological crisis such as suicidal behavior, before he or she can get professional treatment. The purpose of first aid are:

  • To save the life of a young person who might harm himself
  • To ensure that the young person receives professional help before his / her mental health worsens
  • To facilitate the recovery
  • To help and support the young person with mental health problems
  • Programme First aid for mental health teaching
  • How to recognize the different symptoms that characterize the various forms of mental illness and mental health crises
  • How best to make contact with the person and begins the first aid
  • How you can help the person to seek appropriate professional treatment and other forms of support for their problems

The government's mission: MHFA Youth

A new government commission was offered to NASP on June 15 (2012) to test the youth version of MHFA ( Mental Health First Aid). After NASP obtained the rights for education from Australia, this material has been adapted and translated, a number of head instructors has been trained, and an infrastructure has been developed that allows a rapid and effective dissemination of the training program in Sweden. Two counties have selected to pilot the youth programme, Stockholm and Jönköping. In Stockholm County NASP has, after consultation with the National steering group for suicide prevention, given MIND the mandate to organize the selection of instructors and the training of 1000 First aiders. In Jönköping NSPH (National Collaboration for Mental Health) received the same assignment.

The pilot project was funded under the Government's Action Plan PRIO Mental illness - a plan for targeted interventions in the field of mental illness.
Prior to the organization of both of these tasks (MHFA and MHFA Young) information from the government decision has been communicated to the partner and patient organizations, which has additionally anchored all planning, choice of collaboration partner, target and selection of pilot counties. The pilot has also been delivered following consultation and collaboration with the National Steering Group for Suicide Prevention, which consists of representatives of NASP, Stockholm County Council, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), Swedish Church, the Swedish Association for Child and Adolescent Health and Welfare, the National Police, the National Association for Suicide Prevention and After survivor Support (SPES), the Education Authority, the Swedish Psychiatric Association, Uppsala University, Institute of Public Health and the National Association for Mental Health (NSPH).

More information about Mental Health First Aid in Sweden

More information about the Australian programme is available on the website www.mhfa.com.au

A course to train instructors in Sweden is offered at NASP. For more information on this and other courses at NASP, visit our education site.


Mental Health First Aid is an effective public health intervention for improving knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour: a meta-analysis.
Hadlaczky G, Hökby S, Mkrtchian A, Carli V, Wasserman D
Int Rev Psychiatry 2014 Aug;26(4):467-75


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