Aims: To examine the experiences of and preferences for helpful care in situations of mental crisis from the perspective of people with major mental disorders.
Methods: Qualitative individual interviews with 19 users with major mental disorder, 13 men and six women, aged 22-60 years. Analysis was conducted with systematic text condensation.
Results: The main tendencies among a majority of the users are a clear understanding of their own problems and ways of handling these, and the desire for early help from providers whom they know well and who are open to dialogue and reflection. A clear majority perceived a high threshold for contacting the mental health system due to negative experiences and lack of user involvement in treatment planning and implementation.
Conclusion: The findings challenge traditional views of professionalism and describe important implications for mental health services from the user's perspective. Our study provides a clear indication of the importance of becoming an active participant in one's own life, and the need for deeper understanding among the professionals in relation to user experiences and preferences for helpful care in periods of mental health crisis in order to optimize the care.