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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

A qualitative study exploring adolescents’ experiences with a school-based mental health program

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Pernilla Garmy, Agneta Berg, Eva K. Clausson
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12889-015-2368-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

PG conducted the focus groups, performed the first coding, and drafted the manuscript. EKC served as an observer of the first three focus groups. PG, AB, and EKC all participated in the study design and data analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Supporting positive mental health development in adolescents is a major public health concern worldwide. Although several school-based programs aimed at preventing depression have been launched, it is crucial to evaluate these programs and to obtain feedback from participating adolescents. This study aimed to explore adolescents’ experiences with a -based cognitive-behavioral depression prevention program.


Eighty-nine adolescents aged 13–15 years were divided into 12 focus groups. The focus group interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.


Three categories and eight subcategories were found to be related to the experience of the school-based program. The first category, intrapersonal strategies, consisted of the subcategories of directed thinking, improved self-confidence, stress management, and positive activities. The second category, interpersonal awareness, consisted of the subcategories of trusting the group and considering others. The third category, structural constraints, consisted of the subcategories of negative framing and emphasis on performance.


The school-based mental health program was perceived as beneficial and meaningful on both individual and group levels, but students expressed a desire for a more health-promoting approach.
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