CEDH: Projects

I&D+I Projects

Finding space to mental health


Adolescents are an important target population for mental health promotion and stigma reduction (Rickwood, Deane, Wilson & Ciarrochi, 2005; WHO, 2010) for two main reasons:

  • First, 1 in 5 adolescents will experience a mental disorder (WHO, 2001), which demands from them the ability to understand mental health issues, and to be able to seek for help (Kelly, Jorm & Wright, 2007);
  • Second, evidence suggests that stigma regarding mental health arises at an early age (European Commission & Portuguese Ministry of Health, 2010). However, it is also a time where attitudes can still be modified (Corrigan & Watson, 2007).

Mental health literacy - which combines adequate knowledge and beliefs regarding mental health issues - is a central concept in this project (Jorm, 2000).



  • Developing a rigorous assessment instrument capable of assessing mental health literacy and stigmatized perceptions towards mental disorders, and also to work as an outcome measure on the intervention;
  • Developing an intervention intended to be effective in enhancing knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of 12-14 year-olds students, attending 7th, 8th and 9th grades, in relation to mental health issues ("mental health literacy" and mental illness stigmatizing perceptions);
  • Implementing and evaluating the intervention's effectiveness.



  • Development of the assessment instrument tailored towards measuring the different components of "mental health literacy" and stereotypes associated with mental illness in adolescents and their needs for mental well-being interventions, focus groups discussions with 12-14 year-olds young people;
  • Development of the intervention aimed at promoting mental health literacy and reducing stigmatized perceptions towards mental disorders among young people;
  • Implementation of a pilot-study to test the suitability of the intervention program and of the assessment instrument;
  • Implementation and study of intervention's effectiveness;
  • Follow-up.