Promoting Mental Health in School

Young People from Scotland and Sweden Sharing Their Perspectives

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1007/s11469-019-00202-1
Keyword: Medical and Health Sciences, Health Sciences, Nursing, Medicin och hälsovetenskap, Hälsovetenskaper, Omvårdnad, Mental health, Youth, Qualitative
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 4 Quality educationSDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


The rate of mental ill health has increased among children and youth during the past decade in Scotland and Sweden. School is important in influencing both health and education. The starting point for health promotion in school involves those who are affected, the students. The aim of this study was to describe and understand how mental health can be promoted in school from the perspective of young people. A total of 14 Scottish and Swedish young people aged 15–21, 11 girls and 3 boys from 3 municipalities, participated in 4 focus groups. The phenomenological analysis resulted in one main theme: Everyone is being there for each other encompassing three themes without any relative order of precedence: being in a safe, inclusive, and well-informed space; meeting adults who are available, listening, and taking action; and feeling significant and being of significance to others. Based on these findings, we suggest the following aspects to be essential when aiming to promote mental health in schools: (1) value and appreciate young people’s experiences, (2) view everyone in school regardless of age or profession to be an important piece in the mental health promotion puzzle by adopting a “whole school approach,” (3) foster a listening culture that focuses on building enabling relationships, (4) promote health and learning simultaneously to increase health literacy, (5) educate about mental health to minimize stigma and increase confidence in taking appropriate action.


Catrine Kostenius

Luleå tekniska universitet; Omvårdnad och medicinsk teknik
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Sebastian Gabrielsson

Luleå tekniska universitet; Omvårdnad och medicinsk teknik
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Eva Lindgren

Luleå tekniska universitet; Omvårdnad och medicinsk teknik
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