The High and Intensive Care model (HIC) was developed to reduce coercion and improve the quality of acute mental health care in the Netherlands. This study aimed to identify drivers of change which motivate professionals and management to implement HIC, and to identify facilitators and barriers to the implementation process. 41 interviews were conducted with multiple disciplines on 29 closed acute admission wards for adult psychiatric patients of 21 mental healthcare institutions in the Netherlands. The interviews were analysed by means of thematic analysis, consisting of the steps of open coding, axial coding and selective coding. Findings reveal three major drivers of change: the combination of existing interventions in one overall approach to reduce coercion, the focus on contact and cooperation and the alignment with recovery oriented care. Facilitators to implementation of HIC were leadership, involving staff, making choices about what to implement first, using positive feedback and celebrating successes, training and reflection, and providing operationalizable goals. Barriers included the lack of formal organizational support, resistance to change, shortage of staff and use of flex workers, time restraints and costs, lack of knowledge, lack of facilities, and envisaged shortcomings of the HIC standards. Drivers of change motivate staff to implement HIC. In the process of implementation, attention to facilitators and barriers on the level of culture, structure and practice is needed.