With support through the Norway Grants EEA Grants, Portuguese and Norwegian organisations work together to evaluate and improve the access to mental health services of people affected by economic crisis in Portugal based on a new understanding of the effects of the crisis on mental health of the population.

We will obtain a new understanding of the effects of the economic crisis in Portugal on mental-ill health of the populations, comparing epidemiological data on mental disorders, their determinants and use of services, in a representative sample of the Portuguese population, before and after the crisis. We will use this information to propose new policies, programmes and interventions aimed at the reduction of health inequalities and mental health problems linked with the crisis.

The project contributes to the main objectives of the National Health Plan (NHP) as it aims at maximizing health gains of a vulnerable group of the population through participation and involvement of stakeholders in the health system with a focus on access, quality, and citizenship. It also contributes to the objectives of the National Mental Health Plan (NMHP) to the extent that it aims to ensure equitable access to quality care to a especially vulnerable group and to reduce the impact of mental disorders in this group.

Project Promotor - Faculdade de Ciências Médicas (FCM)

The Faculdade de Ciências Médicas (FCM) is the medical school of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (NOVA). Members of the faculty include 371 teachers, 111 of them with a PhD. The FCM has 1386 students of medicine, distributed through the 6 years of the graduate course. The FCM offers a broad range of courses and post- graduate programs in different health areas: Two PhD Programmes in Medicine and Life Sciences (160 PhD students); an Inter-University Doctoral Program in Ageing and Degeneration of Complex Biological Systems (jointly with the Universidade de Coimbra, the Universidade do Minho e Gulbenkian Foundation); Six Masters Courses, and 45 specialization courses.

FCM works in close collaboration with the others schools of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa with health teaching and research activities: the National School of Public Health, the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Institute of Biological and Chemistry Technologies.

FCM incorporates two FCT funded research centers, the Chronic Diseases Research Center (CEDOC) and Human Molecular Genetics Research Centre (CIGMH). CEDOC is today a Center of excellence in Portugal in Biomedical, Translational and Clinical Research on chronic diseases. The Center encompasses more than 180 researchers, 72 PhDs, and 38 Principal Investigators, and includes a Research Group of Mental Health and Psychiatric Disorders among its research groups.  

What was done so far?

The overall project started in Abril 2015 and will terminate in April 2017.

1st phase – April to Jun 2015

In the first two months of the Project all planned actions were successfully developed.

The literature review was developed with a special emphasis on the publications addressing the consequences of past and present economic crises on mental health of the populations.

The new interview adapted to the follow-up of the 2009 survey was developed with the participation of partners with special skills in this issue. The final interview was inserted in the CAPI platform and tested in a small number of individuals.

Selection and training of interviewers was initiated through collaboration of FCM and CESOP. At the same time the final sample of the follow-up was defined and the interviewer manual was completed.

By the end of June the teams were created, and everything was prepared to start the collection of data.

Also, the analysis of suicide rates was initiated. Discussion aiming at the creation of the website was started with experts in the field and the basic structure of a website was defined.

2nd phase – July to October 2015

Between July and October 2015 the data collection was initiated by CESOP (two teams, one based in Lisbon and other based in Porto), under the supervision of FCM. Scientific coordination was ensured through regular meetings of the FCM team with CESOP team. By the end of November more than 500 interviews were already completed.

Analysis of suicide rates was developed through the study of the existing data on deaths by suicide in Portugal in the periods of 2000-2002 and 2010-2012, by municipality, in order to have information on deaths caused by suicide by place of residence, marital status, season, gender and occupation, before and during the financial crisis.

The process aiming at the creation of the website was initiated.  Its structure was completed, basic information was included, and first tests were done.

3rd phase – November 2015 to February 2016

By the end of  February more than nine hundred interviews were completed.


Lisbon, by Luca Sartoni | CC BY-SA 2.0