Mental health in prison: pilot course in Portugal Silvia Bernardo February 8, 2021

Mental health in prison: pilot course in Portugal

Course to be piloted in Portugal from February 17th 2021 will prepare professionals to better support inmates with mental health issues.

The AWARE  “Mental Health Awareness in Prison” training course is a b-learning course created under the AWARE project – Cross-sectoral Awareness Building on Mental Health Needs in the Criminal Justice System and On Release.

The AWARE training course is to be piloted in Portugal and is aimed at prison and probation staff, as well as workers from civil society organisations and volunteers who work with prisoners or ex-prisoners.

The project consortium designed this course to mitigate the current training needs in matters of mental health on the part of non-specialised correctional professionals, in correctional settings.

The main objective of the AWARE course is to raise awareness of the mental health of prisoners, offering participants the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in this area. The contents of the course include:
1) Definition of health, mental illness and the concepts around mental health;
2) Understand the factors that influence mental health, and
3) Awareness of the difficulties associated with mental illness labels.


AWARE Mental Health training course

By acquiring and developing the abovementioned skills, prison professionals will be better equipped to detect mental health problems and offer practical support to inmates suffering from mental disorders, both in custody and after release.

In this sense, the “Mental Health Awareness in Prison” course will contribute to achieving better results in the criminal justice system, including reducing recidivism rates.

The AWARE course pilot will begin with a synchronous online videoconference session between registered participants and the project team at IPS. This session will take place on February 17th (between 10 am and 12 noon WET). In this session, the team will present and discuss the course manual and show participants how to use TalentLMS, the cloud learning platform where the course will run.

In the second phase of the pilot, registered trainees access e-learning materials autonomously, on the learning platform and take the course. Participants will have between February 17 and March 3, 2021 to successfully complete the course to obtain the certificate of completion.

This document (in Portuguese) contains all the information about this training, which is free for registered participants.

The AWARE project was conceived as an integrated response to discrimination and the added difficulties of reintegration of those who suffer a double challenge: the stigma of a criminal record and mental health issues.

The project aims to raise awareness about mental health to promote better inter-agency work and better results for offenders. It also aims to train correctional officers to recognize, refer and/or treat moderate mental health problems within the confines of prison and/or probation systems;

The project is promoted by the Bremen Senate of Justice and Constitution, Germany, and it includes the partners below:
IPS_Innovative Prison Systems, Portugal
BSAFE LAB of UBI University, Portugal
CPIP – Center for Promoting Lifelong Learning, Romania
Athens Lifelong Learning Institute, Greece
New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria
ICPA – International Corrections and Prisons Association

Learn more about the project at