Beatriz Severes wins +Valor Madeira Award

The Interactive Technologies Institute is proud to announce that Beatriz Severes, a current PhD student at ITI, has been awarded the prestigious “+Valor Madeira” for her groundbreaking work in the field of mental health during her master’s studies. The award, presented by the Madeira Legislative Assembly, was handed over by its president, José Manuel Rodrigues, in a ceremony held on December 4, 2023.

Under Mary Barreto’s supervision, her research focused on developing a mobile application named “Toolbox”. The study explored the collaborative process of creating a digital intervention in conjunction with psychology counselling services at the University of Madeira.

In light of the global increase in mental health challenges, especially among young adults, Beatriz’s research addressed the specific context of university life and the heightened psychological distress experienced by students. The study emphasized the need for digital mental health tools to expand the reach of therapy services, overcoming barriers related to geography, socioeconomics, and education.

The mobile application developed by Beatriz as part of her master’s thesis offers a pioneering solution to the challenges faced by university students. By integrating digital mental health tools with in-person therapy, the application facilitates self-management of mental well-being and provides a closer connection between users and psychologists.

The research also highlighted the importance of an adaptable and cross-disciplinary approach in developing mental health apps, accommodating the expertise and inputs of stakeholders. According to the study, this methodology ensures that the digital platform effectively addresses the mental health needs of students.

The +Valor Madeira Award, established by the Madeira Legislative Assembly in February 2021, aims to recognize outstanding academic work in the form of doctoral theses, master’s dissertations, and scientific articles. With her work titled ‘Design of Collaborative Technological Interventions for Mental Health Management’, Beatriz Severes was awarded a prize of 5,000 euros.

The jury commended the relevance of Beatriz’s work to the goals of the +Valor Madeira award, its high degree of innovation, and the significant development of processes and methodologies with potential impact in regional areas, particularly in mental health—a crucial area in the current social context. The winning project was also acknowledged for its potential to facilitate regional development strategies.

Beatriz Severes is now a PhD student under the supervision of Mary Barreto and Augusto Esteves, both researchers at the Interactive Technologies Institute. She is still dedicated to developing digital mental health solutions for university environments to improve student well-being and academic success. Her work seeks to create adaptable mental health interventions in educational settings, contributing to academic research and student life improvement.

The Interactive Technologies Institute congratulates Beatriz Severes on this well-deserved recognition and applauds her valuable contributions to improving mental health solutions in the university environment and beyond.