Mental Health Needs and Interventions

Miguel Xavier, MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

Manuel Gonçalves Pereira, MD, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator

We are interested in clinical and psychosocial assessment of psychiatric disorders, psychiatric epidemiology, mental health policy/services evaluation research, ageing and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Researchers from our group have coordinated or collaborated in several multicentre studies funded by European and national funding agencies (e.g., psychiatric epidemiology, prediction of depressive episodes, needs assessment in schizophrenia and dementia, family burden, psychoeducational interventions, forensic psychiatry, mental health in prisons, access to timely formal care in dementia). Some of these researchers regularly collaborate with the Portuguese government (Ministry of Health, General Directorate of Health) in the development and implementation of mental health plans and policies on a national basis.

There are strong connections with international research networks like INTERDEM and the 10/66 Dementia Research Group. There are also close collaborations with different clinical services, affiliated or not with NOVA Medical School. The same applies to the third sector, and patient and family associations (e.g. Alzheimer Portugal).

Main interests and Research Areas

• Clinical and psychosocial evaluation of psychiatric disorders and dementia, with a special focus on family aspects.
• Psychiatric epidemiology (psychiatric disorders and dementia, and their determinants).
• Needs and quality of life assessment of people with mental health problems and dementia, and their informal carers (e.g., general population, primary care, secondary care, tertiary care, prisons).
• Non-pharmacological interventions and person-centered care, including psychoeducation; multidisciplinary approaches to older people care, palliative geriatric medicine, prevention of mental disorders and mental health promotion; social health in dementia; information and communication technologies in dementia care.
• Evaluation of mental health policies, programs, and interventions (from local to national level).
• Stigma, attitudes toward psychiatry, recovery and social inclusion.
• Adherence to treatment.
• Implementation science related with the organization of mental health services.
• Communication, humanism and spirituality in health across the life cycle.

Recent scientific contributions (from 2013):

Actifcare (Access to Timely Formal Care in Dementia)
(Coordination – Frans Verhey & Marjolein de Vugt, Maastricht University)
This was a multicentre European project, supported by the EU Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND)
PI for Portugal: Manuel Gonçalves Pereira
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (FCT - JPND-HC/0001/2012); 2014-2017

The Masters in Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion
(Coordination: University of Hertfordshire, UK)
This is the first European MSc focused on Recovery, a European Commission ERASMUS Lifelong Learning funded Programme, involving researchers from UK, Portugal (NOVA Medical School), Italy and Poland.
PI for Portugal: Miguel Xavier
Funding: EU Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) - 517918-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-ERASMUS-ECDCE

Prevalence of old age neuropsychiatric disorders: Contribution to mental health policy in Portugal – The 10/66 Dementia Research Group Prevalence Study in Portugal
Collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and the 10/66 Dementia Research Group (Coordination: Martin Prince):
PI for Portugal: Miguel Xavier
Funding: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (PTDC/SAU-EPI/113652/2009); 2011-2014

Ongoing Projects:

“Dementia in Primary Care: the Patient, the Carer and the Doctor in the Medical Encounter” (2019-2020, extended). Bayer / NOVASAÚDE AGEING 2018 grant. (PI: Manuel Gonçalves Pereira; field coordinator: Conceição Balsinha).

Ten recent publications (2011 - Jan 2021)

Team photos