Effectiveness of Mental Health First Aid training in Denmark: a randomized trial in waitlist design

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2016 Apr;51(4):597-606. doi: 10.1007/s00127-016-1176-9. Epub 2016 Feb 2.


Purpose: To examine the effect of the Australian educational intervention Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in a Danish context. Primary outcome was improvement concerning confidence in help-giving behavior towards people suffering from mental illness. Secondary outcomes were increased knowledge and ability to recognize mental illness and improved positive attitudes towards people suffering from mental health problems.

Method: Study design was a randomized trial with a waitlist control group. The intervention group was compared with the control group at 6-month follow-up. Both groups completed at baseline and at 6-month follow-up.

Results: A significant difference was found between employees trained in the intervention group compared to the control group at 6-month follow-up on the items of confidence in making contact to (Cohen's d 0.17), talking to (Cohen's d 0.18) and providing help to (Cohen's d 0.31) people suffering from a mental health illness. Further, participants improved in knowledge (Cohen's d depression vignette 0.40/Cohen's d schizophrenia vignette 0.32) and in the ability to recognize schizophrenia OR = 1.75 (95 % CI 1.00-3.05), p = 0.05. A significant difference between the intervention group and control group at follow-up concerning actual help offered was not found. Changes in attitudes were limited.

Conclusion: The MHFA training was effective in a Danish context.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02334020.

Keywords: Educational training program; Mental Health First Aid; Mental health; Randomized trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • First Aid*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health / education*
  • Middle Aged
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self Efficacy
  • Waiting Lists

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02334020