The National Coordinator of Mental Health Policy says investment in this area in the National Health Service, which is about 5% today, should double in a few years.
“We calculate, without being certain, because there is no certainty, that our investment in terms of the overall NHS budget, is about 5%. I think we have to get, at some point in the future, to double that,” he said in an interview with Lusa.
Miguel Xavier gives the example of countries such as the United Kingdom, or Nordic countries, where the investment in mental health in the total weight of health is about 13% and 14%, explaining that this value does not arise by chance.
“This is because of the percentage of the global mental health burden of all diseases (…) The UK was already the first country in the world to get there, and others will get there,” said Miguel Xavier.
He recognizes that it is necessary to “be realistic and have our feet on the ground” and says, “If we are 4% or 5%, we are talking about triple.”
However, he says it is a positive aspect that mental health is currently considered “a comprehensive priority for Portuguese society”.
“If we think we have to double our budget in a few years, I think it’s a goal and I hope it’s not too optimistic,” he said, emphasizing: “It’s a goal that the Portuguese deserve. And by the way, the professionals [de saúde]who work there, and they work a lot.”