According to the Portuguese Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health (SPPSM), Portugal is the second country in Europe with more prevalence of psychiatric diseases, underlining the high number of anxiety diagnoses.

Despite the high number of mental illness cases, mental health treatment is mainly done in private clinics, which are sometimes more expensive than what people can afford for treatment.

In 2023, Sic Notícias stated that, in Portugal, there are officially 26 thousand psychologists, out of those only a thousand are part of the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS).

In 2022, Lundeck Portugal released the report “Depressão Sem Rodeios”, where 1215 Portuguese people answered questions about depression. The sample had people 18 years old, from different regions of Portugal, with economic status, and studies degree.

The majority of people think that the treatment for depression is highly important, with 94 percent of the inquired people revealing that it is a necessity. 93 percent of people think that a psychiatrist is the right professional to deal with mental health diseases, namely depression. More than half of the enquiries think that family doctors are the right people to treat depression, with 59 percent of people highlighting the role of family doctors. Only 10 percent of people think that psychologists are the right professionals to deal with mental health.

The SNS mentions that cases of depression may be hereditary, which means, that someone may face a depression diagnosis more easily if there are cases of depression in the family. The Lundeck Portugal report shows that 77 percent of the enquiries had already experienced depression in family members, while 33 percent of people questioned had already been through depression.

How to diagnose?

Health authorities advise that, besides being the main symptom, sadness must not be misunderstood as depression. Sadness is a natural emotion of human beings, that may lead to depression if it is prolonged.

Life situations or genetics may lead to depression, as mentioned by SNS, it is important to treat the symptoms as soon as possible. The symptoms that people must be aware of are extreme fatigue, lack of motivation to do simple tasks, and difficulty sleeping, among others.

SNS advises people that maintaining a healthy lifestyle may prevent depression, as well as understanding the disease better, as it will help to prevent a major diagnosis of depression.

The SNS24 phone line also offers psychological support, when it is needed, both in Portuguese and English, for free. When going through a hard time, anyone may call 808 24 24 24 and have a moment with a professional that will help release some tension that may be being felt, calling medical support, if there is a need to.


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos