Mental health literacy about depression and schizophrenia among Swedish teenagers: a vignette study

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Psykologiska institutionen


Although the prevalence of mental pathology is high, public’s mental health literacy (i.e. knowledge about mental disorders) has not been examined to a great extent. The main purpose of this study was to examine mental health literacy concerning depression and schizophrenia in a setting of adolescents in Sweden. A secondary aim was to explore stigmatizing attitudes towards mentally ill and levels of altruism among adolescents regarding help-seeking behavior. The present study employed qualitative methodology and data were collected through vignettes. A total of 426 high school students living in Stockholm formed the respondents and content analysis showed that among teenagers recognition of both depression and schizophrenia was poor. Moreover, friends and informal sources of help were regarded as best types of help. Furthermore, results indicated stigmatizing beliefs about mental disorders and low levels of altruistic behavior. These results are supported from other similar studies and suggest awareness campaigns to increase mental health literacy among adolescents. Recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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