Mental Health

Our research group focuses on mental health determinants, needs and interventions. In recent years, we have also developed a special interest in dementia and cognitive disorders in general.

Some of us coordinated or collaborated in multicenter studies funded by European and national agencies (regarding e.g., the epidemiology of mental and neuropsychiatric disorders, predictive models in depression, needs assessment in schizophrenia and dementia, family caregiver burden, psychoeducational and family interventions, access to formal dementia care, forensic psychiatry, mental health in prisons). The same applies to regular collaborations with the Portuguese government (Ministry of Health, DGS, ARSLVT) in the development and implementation of mental health plans and policies.

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 caregivers (e.g., general population, primary care, secondary care, tertiary care, prisons).
  • Non-pharmacological interventions and person-centered care, including psychoeducation; multidisciplinary approaches regarding older age people, palliative geriatric medicine, the 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, mostly regarding the organization of mental health services.
  • Communication, humanism and spirituality in health, across the life cycle.


  • Dementia in Primary Care: the Patient, the Carer and the Doctor in the Medical Encounter (2019- )

Bolsa Bayer/NOVASAÚDE AGEING 2018. 

PI: Manuel Gonçalves Pereira. Coordination: Conceição Balsinha.

  • The COGCARE project - cognitive disorders and impact on caregivers: brief technology-assisted measures may be a step forward (2023- )

Bolsa CHRC/2022

PI: Manuel Gonçalves Pereira.



  • Prevalence of old age neuropsychiatric disorders: Contribution to mental health policy in Portugal – The 10/66 Dementia Research Group Prevalence Study in Portugal

    In collaboration with Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and 10/66 Dementia Research Group (Coord: Martin Prince):

    PI: Miguel Xavier - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (PTDC/SAU-EPI/113652/2009); 2011-2014

  • Actifcare (Access to Timely Formal Care in Dementia)

    EU-JPND project, coord. Prof. Frans Verhey & Prof. M. de Vugt, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

    PI: Manuel Gonçalves Pereira - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (FCT - JPND-HC/0001/2012); 2014-2017

  • The Masters in Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion

    European Commission ERASMUS Lifelong Learning (with collaborators in the United Kingdom, Italy and Poland). EU Lifelong Learning Programme - 517918-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-ERASMUS-ECDCE. 

    PI: Miguel Xavier



  • Verdelho A, Gonçalves-Pereira M (Eds): Neuropsychiatric symptoms in cognitive impairment and dementia. Springer, 2017. ISBN: 978-3-319-39136-6 (Print) 978-3-319-39138-0 (Online); DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-39138-0. 
  • Gonçalves-Pereira M, Leuschner A. Chap. 29, Portugal. In: Burns A, Robert P, editors. Dementia Care: International Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2019. ISBN: 9780198796046. DOI:10.1093/med/9780198796046.001.0001. (pp: 219-230; DOI:10.1093/med/9780198796046.003.0029.
  • Balsinha C, Gonçalves-Pereira M, Iliffe S, Freitas JA, Grave J. Healthcare delivery for older people with dementia in primary care. In: de Mendonça-Lima C, Ivbijaro G, editors. Primary Care Mental Health for Older People. Springer, Cham; 2019. ISBN: 978-3-030-10812-0 (Print) 978-3-030-10814-4 (Online) (pp: 311-329; DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-10814-4_23.
  • Zhang F, Cheng ST, Gonçalves-Pereira M. Factors contributing to protection and vulnerability in dementia caregivers. In: Martin, C.R., Preedy, V.R. (Eds.), The Neuroscience of Dementia, Vol 2 (Genetics, Neurology, Behavior, and Diet in Dementia). Academic Press, Elsevier, London; 2020. pp. 709–722. 


NOVA Medical School participates in debate “The Future of Neurosciences”

Researchers and Professors from NOVA Medical School, Miguel Xavier and Cláudia Almeida, participated in the conference organized by Jornal Económico and Biogen Portugal.

The group has connections with international networks such as INTERDEM and the 10/66 Dementia Research Group, as well as with researchers from other Universities, national and international (for example: University College London, Bangor University, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Penn State University).

There are collaborations with different clinical services (hospital and primary health care) and with patient and family associations, such as Alzheimer Portugal.

Former members of the Research Team:

  • Bernardo Barahona-Corrêa
  • Conceição Balsinha
  • Jaime Grácio
  • Joaquim Alves da Silva
  • Maria João Marques
  • Pedro Mateus

Principal Investigator

Fernando Miguel Teixeira Xavier
Vice-dean, President of the Scientific Council


Manuel Gonçalves Pereira
Principal Investigator (CHRC), MD, PhD
Ana Margarida Cardoso
Joaquim Sousa Gago
Miguel Talina
Ana Rita Moura
MD, PhD Student (CHRC)
Teresa Alves dos Reis
Fátima Urzal
MD, Invited Assistant FCM|NMS, Researcher (CHRC)
Joana Isaac
MD, Invited Assistant FCM|NMS
Maria João Gracias
MD, Invited Assistant FCM|NMS
Rui Albuquerque
MD, Invited Assistant FCM|NMS
Frederica Vian
Inês Mega