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Perceived effects of the economic recession on population mental health, well-being and provision of care by primary care users and professionals: a qualitative study protocol in Portugal
  1. Ana Antunes1,
  2. Diana Frasquilho1,
  3. Graça Cardoso1,
  4. Nádia Pereira2,
  5. Manuela Silva1,
  6. José Miguel Caldas-de-Almeida1,
  7. João Ferrão2
  1. 1 Chronic Diseases Research Centre (CEDOC), NOVA Medical School | Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, NOVA University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
  2. 2 Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Ana Antunes; ana.antunes{at}


Introduction Economic recession periods can pose accentuated risks to population’s mental health and well-being as well as additional threats to health systems. Users and health professionals are key stakeholders in care delivery; however, little attention has been given to their experiences of the crisis. This paper presents a qualitative study protocol to assess users’ and health professionals’ perceptions about the effects of the post-2008 economic recession on mental health and care delivery in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Portugal.

Methods and analysis The methodology to assess perceived effects of the economic recession by primary care users and professionals on population mental health, well-being and provision of care is presented. Focus groups with users and semistructured interviews with health professionals will be carried out in three primary healthcare units in Lisbon areas especially affected by the crisis. Thematic analysis of full-transcribed interviews will be conducted using an iterative and reflexive approach.

Ethics and dissemination The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of NOVA Medical School, NOVA University of Lisbon. The findings will be useful for other researchers and policy-makers to develop and implement the assessment of prevailing experiences of users and health professionals on the effects of the economic recession on mental health and quality of care in primary health context, promoting their involvement and contribution to services responsiveness.

  • mental health
  • economic recession
  • qualitative research
  • user participation

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors AA and DF conceptualised the design and drafted the paper. JMC-A is the principal investigator in the MH Crisis Impact study and oversaw all activities. JF coordinated the study design and implementation. GC, NP and MS collaborated in the drafting and reviewing this manuscript. All authors revised, reviewed and approved the final paper.

  • Funding The present manuscript was granted by the Public Health Initiatives Programme (PT06), financed by EEA Grants Financial Mechanism 2009-2014. For further information, please visit http// AA receives a grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), reference PD/BD/105822/2014.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics Committee of the NOVA Medical School, NOVA University of Lisbon.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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