UAB student's final project on suicide prevention in prison receives award from Catalan universities

Portada del vídeo premiat.
Portada del vídeo premiat.

UAB journalism student Mariona Montserrat Comellas was awarded one of the prizes for best final project (TFG) in the area of health promotion related to the SDGs by the Catalan Network of Healthy Universities, with a project on suicide prevention in the Quatre Camins prison. The final project consisted in recording a video based on the experiences and stories of prisoners who transmit a realistic and positive message.


Group discussions were held to jointly create the essential messages the video aimed to transmit.

UAB journalism student Mariona Montserrat Comellas, whose TFG was supervised by lecturer Luiz Peres Garzezi and prepared by using Service-learning methodology (ApS), has created a tool to help prevent suicides: a collaborative video recorded with inmates from the Quatre Camins Penitentiary Centre. Suicide is a highly relevant cause of death within the penitentiary system, with a suicide rate seven times higher that of the general population.

The video, entitled sobre(VIVIR), is aimed at new inmates and is based on the experiences and stories of older inmates who transmit “a realistic, positive and courageous message about how normal it is not to feel okay and encourages others to ask for help when needed”, Mariona explains.

For Mariona Montserrat, suicide is a taboo subject and focusing on this subject in a video represented a challenge for her: “we followed the protocols to ensure it had a positive impact on the audience it is targeting”. At the same time, she focused on using the service-learning methodology and working in a collaborative manner, i.e., prison centre’s developers and prevention programme professionals, supervisor and student.

Group discussions were conducted in order to jointly create the essential messages the video aimed to transmit. Mariona also conducted a previous assessment session with the mental health association Obertament to discover good and bad practices when dealing with suicide audiovisually.

The video, which lasts 11 minutes, was recorded in the months of April and May, and was first projected in the prison in September, coinciding with World Mental Health Day. According to Mariona, the project had a positive effect on the inmates who participated: "all of us who participated hope that the video will serve to inspire other professionals to develop projects with similar objectives".

Mariona also affirms that creating the video has revealed a world she was not at all familiar with, and has also helped her learn about mental health, suicide and how to deal with and further explore specific issues with vulnerable groups. “On top of all that, it helped me realise that in the end we all have the same fundamental needs and that it is important to work together to give each other support and evolve towards a better world”.

Awards by the USCAT Network

The jury was made up of Public Health representatives of the Government of Catalonia, the Interuniversity Council of the Government of Catalonia and three experts from the universities of the Catalan Network of Healthy Universities (in this edition from the UB, the UAB and the UPC).

The awards ceremony, with cash prizes of 1,000 euros and a diploma for eachof the winners, will take place on Monday 18 December at the University of Barcelona.

In this edition, the Catalan network of healthy universities (Xarxa USCAT) has awarded a total of six prizes: three for the best final degree project (TFG) and three more for the final master's degree (TFM). The work had to be related to the prevention and improvement of health (physical health, dietary health and wellbeing). Thus, the UAB student shared the best TFG prize with the prizes also awarded to the TFG of the students Pilar Sala Trevejo, from the UOC, and Carla Xairó Núñez, from UVic-UCC.

The terms and conditions of the awards can be seen here.

This information is related to the following SDG

  • Good health and well-being
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions