The University of Madeira, the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo and the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda are the Institutions of Higher Education that won the first edition of FLAD/OPP – Mental Health in Higher Education. 100,000 euros will be distributed for the selected projects that aim to contribute to a lower incidence of mental health problems among students. The selected projects are presented this Friday during the OPP Congress in Aveiro.

The first edition of the FLAD/OPP Program – Mental Health in Higher Education, which results from a partnership with the Portuguese Order of Psychologists (OPP) and with the high sponsorship of the Presidency of the Republic, received 32 applications. The jury composed of Ana Isabel Lage Ferreira, member of the board of the Order of Portuguese Psychologists, Ângela Maia, professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at the School of Psychology of the University of Minho and Maria da Conceição Bento, director general of Higher Education, selected three projects to receive the support of the program. According to the jury:

“Choosing the three projects was a very difficult process. The applications were all very strong, which reveals not only the scientific quality, but also the commitment of higher education institutions with regard to mental health. Our job was to find applications that fully suited the challenge launched by this program.”

They are the Wellbeing UMa project (University of Madeira), the Projeto Desejar – Comunicar – Agir (Polytechnic Institute of Guarda) and the project RES4ALL+ Promotion of Resilience and Positive Mental Health of Students (Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo). Learn more about each other’s goals:

University of Madeira

Project: Wellbeing UMa

Focusing on the development of the socio-emotional skills of students and the creation of a cohesive and solidary support network between them and other groups of the university universe, this project introduces the creation of Mental Health Ambassadors. These are university students who, on a voluntary basis, will be involved and formed in order to develop, implement and monitor the activities under this project. The activities involve Arts, Sport, Creative Writing, Outdoor Readings and even a Philosophical Cruise, always with a view to the development of psychological literacy and the establishment of peer relationships. It also considers music therapy sessions in order to facilitate self-expression, self-awareness and social interaction.

According to the jury, “this project follows a work already carried out by the University of Madeira and will be an important contribution to the consolidation of the environment and identity of this Higher Education Institution. It is very cross-cutting and very solid, both from a theoretical and practical point of view.”


Polytechnic Institute of Guarda (IPG)

Project: Desejar – Comunicar – Agir

This project involves the intervention and evaluation of three socio-emotional competencies: emotional self-regulation, adaptability and empathy. It includes Portuguese sign language courses, first aid in Mental Health, actions to reduce the time of use of the mobile phone, prevention of migraine, awareness of the use of psychotropic drugs, conversations about sexuality and the LGBTQIA+ community, and much more.

According to the jury, “this project reveals a great willingness and commitment on the part of the IPG to meet the difficulties experienced by the students. It is a consistent, broad and demanding proposal that is very much in line with the challenge launched by the FLAD/OPP program, which is both in terms of sustainability and transversality.”


Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC)

Project: RES4ALL+ Promoting Resilience and Positive Mental Health of Students

In order to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities among students and to develop their skills in Mental Health literacy, this project goes through two lines of intervention: the Positive Mental Health program and the Resilient Campus.

From actions tailored to different groups of students, through the creation of indoor and outdoor spaces that promote Mental Health and the creation of digital resources shared with the whole community, also includes cultural, leisure and socio-educational activities.

According to the jury, “this is a very consistent project, focused on prevention and the ability of students to evaluate warning signs about Mental Health, thus contributing to the construction of a discourse that is effectively part of the students. It has a strong practical component and is quite ambitious, because it implies a great mobilization of resources.”

The winning projects are presented on September 30th during the 5th edition of the OPP Congress in Aveiro.

Congratulations to all and good work!