Last October 9th we launched the largest award for Mental Health research in Portugal to promote the development of solutions that improve the quality of life of people suffering from the impact of mental disorders, and on society.

A “devastating impact.” This is how the World Health Organization (WHO) describes the effect of the pandemic on access to Mental Health care, which requires an “urgent increase in funding”. In the face of a new virus, it is natural that attention should be focused on the protection of physical health, but it is also evident that this context of pandemic and confinement has brought greater challenges to our psychological and emotional well-being. It has become even more evident to all of us that it is crucial to value Mental Health and to fight the stigma with which mental disorders are associated.

Mental Health has been neglected for too long. I am very pleased that FLAD (Luso-American Development Foundation) is directing its resources to Mental Health towards a research award with a focus on prevention and clinical care in Mental Health.”Dévora Kestel, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The United Nations also acknowledged the importance of the award launched by FLAD, noting that the recovery of the pandemic, when it occurs, cannot leave behind all those who have mental disorders.

“Mental Health is a critical part of our well-being and should be at the heart of the COVID-19 response and recovery. A Human Rights based approach requires the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of Mental Health services as a key priority. As part of our recovery efforts, it is essential to build and invest in good quality Mental Health services at all levels to support societies’ recovery from the pandemic, and to ensure that those who have Mental Health disorders are not left behind.”United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif, on the launch of FLAD’s Science Award Mental Health.

Promote clinical research on Mental Health in Portugal.

The FLAD Science Award Mental Health, the largest scientific award for Mental Health in Portugal, aims to support clinical research projects of young psychologists, psychiatrists, family doctors, neurologists, and other professionals in this area in Portugal, with the cooperation of the United States.

“In the field of Mental Health there are several research structures in the US with enormous international recognition, and that can contribute a lot to two relevant aspects in this award: the scientific quality of the research line to be created, and the establishment of a collaborative relationship that is fundamental to the temporal sustainability of research work.” – Dr. Miguel Xavier, member of the Scientific Committee of FLAD’s Science Award Mental Health.

But also contribute to the quality of life of patients, at a time when the needs around Mental Health are even more evident.

“By rewarding innovative projects in this area, we want to help promote the quality of life of patients and contribute to reducing the impact that mental disorders have, not only on each person, but in society.”Rita Faden, President of FLAD.

As the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, says in a message of support for the launch of the award, there is no more time to lose. This work must involve everyone and must proceed.

“The Ministry of Health praises the sense of opportunity of this FLAD initiative, for the stimulus it brings to Portuguese scientific research, in an area that is transversal to all sectors of society and absolutely central in the life of each one of us. Having research results on the determinants of Mental Health is a decisive contribution to adapt policies, strategies, and plans for the promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of these diseases. On the other hand, we welcome the possibility of providing young professionals working in the field of Mental Health with the development of autonomous lines of research, stimulating their growth as clinical researchers. This is a valuable contribution to improving Mental Health in populations, a priority for which there is no more time to lose in the work of politicians, leaders, medical staff and researchers.” – Marta Temido, Minister of Health.

Applications can be submitted between the 1st and 30th of November. For more information click here.