Mental Health Initiatives in SwedenSweden has often been ranked among the nations with the highest rates of quality of life and overall happiness. In addition to its stellar system of care and initiatives, the country is ripe with luscious natural landscapes and green spaces, providing its citizens with a pure, accessible, cost-free way to de-stress. These qualities work alongside mental health initiatives in Sweden. Many also recognize Sweden for its healthy balance of work and culture.

While mental health rates were low in the past, mental health initiatives in Sweden have been improving in recent times. Due to its growing success, many other nations are looking to the Nordic country as an example of progress, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government Policies

While there is still work to be done, mental health initiatives in Sweden are on the rebound. In 2016, the Swedish government introduced and implemented a mental health strategy focusing on “prevention and awareness, accessibility to care and greater emphasis on vulnerable groups.” This includes introducing methods to prevent severe conditions and increasing access to mental health treatments. Users can obtain treatment via county council mental health providers or generic services by the municipalities’ social welfare system. These municipalities provide care to individuals with mental illness, including school-aged children and patients recently discharged from a medical facility.

Options Available to Patients

There are many options available to Swedes who are living with mental illness. Numerous crisis hotlines staffed by volunteers are readily available for Swedes to utilize. These include SPES, available to those grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide, The Rainbow Line, available to LGBTQ+ individuals, Kvinnofridslinjen, available to women facing violence or threats of violence and BRIS, available to anyone who needs support.
Another initiative available to patients is the Young Health Programme (YHP), founded and operated by AstraZeneca. YHP is a global disease prevention program with a unique focus on mental health awareness for those aged 10 to 24. Researchers collected findings by surveying 1,350 discussions with the BRIS child helpline. They published the results so mental health professionals could access those findings. Patients, their families and health care professionals utilized five short films based on the team’s findings as part of their treatment process. To date, more than 29,000 children have used these methods to receive support for their respective conditions.

Outlook on the Future

Sweden’s efforts to strengthen its mental health initiatives are creating meaningful changes for patients and their families. Policies and policymakers are focusing on varying aspects of mental health and groups affected, including adolescents and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Agencies are more equipped to appropriately treat and care for their patients. As of June 2023, policymakers are continuing to strengthen mental health initiatives in Sweden in the hopes of maintaining positive mental health trends in the future.

– Nicholas DeLuca
Photo: Unsplash