Portugal is in the south-west of Europe; its territory includes the Azores and Madeira islands, giving it an area of 91 900 km2. The total resident population of Portugal was 10 579 000 in 2006. The population density was 115 per km2. The birth rate has been declining, from 20.0 per 1000 population in 1970 to 10.4 in 2004. Life expectancy at birth in 2006 was 75 for males and 82 years for females. Healthy life expectancy at birth in 2003 was 67 and 72 years, respectively. The infant mortality rate decreased from 10.8 per 1000 in 1991 to 3.5 per 1000 in 2005. The median age of the population has been steadily rising.
Portugal has been a constitutional democratic republic since 1974. The main institutions of state are: President of the Republic, Parliament and government. First two are directly elected by the population. Since 2005, the Socialist Party has formed a government with an absolute majority of seats in Parliament.
Gross national income per capita is $19 960 (sums here and below are in international dollars, purchasing power parity, 2006). Total expenditure on health per capita is $2080. The health budget represents 9.2% of gross domestic product.
Mental health policy
A mental health policy has been present since 1995, with advocacy, promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as aims. A substance misuse policy has been present since 1999, and an alcohol policy since 2000.
Ministerial Order 10 464 (9 April 2008) set out the current national goals for mental health:
• permanent monitoring of the mental health status of the Portuguese population
• creation of programmes promoting the well-being, mental health, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of people with mental illness
• organisation of mental health services for adults, children and adolescents
• articulation of psychiatric care with primary healthcare through an integrated continuous care network
• participation of both users and care providers in the rehabilitation and the social integration of patients with serious mental illnesses.
Mental health is one of the priority areas of the National Health Plan 2004–10. Special concerns are depression and alcohol misuse and dependence.