A few years ago, Portugal switched to a ‘care in the community’ model for the care of its mental health patients; this allowed the ministry to close Portugal specialist mental health units. This paper explored the issues that beset mental health services in Portugal, and the factors that may contribute to mental health problems. Among the predictive factors that were observed are: sociodemographic factors, intercultural contact and psychosocial adjustment variables. These were revealed, in the previous studies, to be associated with youth mental health. Training professionals in a shared care model is arguably not linked with consistent improvements in the recognition or management of mental health problems. In spite of instabilities that the Portuguese context may have contributed to the lack of effects, wider changes in the mental health services may be required to improve training and to encourage reliable changes in behavior, and more specific and proven models are needed. The current paper also identifies the barriers on access to mental health services.
Key words: mental health, mental health services, service development