Focus on promoting mental health

The Gulbenkian Foundation and the Ministry of Health have signed a collaboration protocol to promote perinatal mental health, affective bonding and the fight against adversity throughout childhood
Sad child, sitting on a staircase in a big house, concept for bullying, depression stress or frustration
12 oct 2023

To honour the World Mental Health Day, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Ministry of Health’s National Coordination for Mental Health Policies signed a collaboration protocol that will be carried out across three domains: preventive action in the areas of maternal mental health, parenting and bonding and childhood adversity; promotion of positive mental health and healthy development of children in the first years of life; as well as prevention of the negative impact of adverse childhood events on mental health, from birth to pre-adolescence.

During the ceremony to sign the protocol, Health Minister Manuel Pizarro stated that “everyone has the right to live without stigma. That is the guiding principle of our path”. And because “mental health is a universal right, a fundamental human right”, he guaranteed that the Ministry of Health has been seeking to “accompany people from an early age”.

For the President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, António Feijó, “a healthy start in life is essential” for a child’s development, and this should be done through prevention and intervention right from the first years of life. Just as essential, he said, is reinforcing access to public services, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. This is a matter of Equity, one of the of the two priorities of the Gulbenkian Foundation’s strategic cycle for 2023-2027.

The collaboration protocol is part of the Growing Minds initiative, created by the Gulbenkian Foundation as a way of supporting pilot projects in the fields of perinatal mental health, affective bonding and adversity in childhood, which, in the light of positive results, could be implemented on a larger scale.

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