The MOMENT project aims to contribute to a better understanding of severe mental disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder) by analysing the discourse of the two main groups involved: people with a mental health diagnosis and mental health professionals. This analysis uses the Conceptual Metaphor Theory. The two main objectives are: 1) to detect and systematize dominant conceptualizations of the disorders, and 2) to promote changes in discourse in order to improve public health communication and communications between patients and professionals. 


1. To build a hand-annotated corpus of first-person testimonies published online (in blogs, on Twitter, etc.) by patients and professionals in Spain. This corpus will be used both for discourse analysis and as a testing ground for automatic metaphor detection.

2. To analyse first-person accounts from people diagnosed with a severe mental disorder and from mental health professionals in order to detect: 1) what kind of metaphors are used by these two groups when talking about the mental disorder and related experiences, and what similarities and differences there are between groups on two levels, intergroup (patients vs. professionals) and intragroup (type of severe mental disorder and professional profile); and 2) what kind of discourses are built upon the uses of these metaphors: biomedical discourses, which tend to disempower affected people, or alternative humanistic discourses, which tend to promote patients’ agency.

3. To improve the methodology for detecting metaphors and codifying them in corpora, with the aim of contributing to solving the methodological problems common to any application of the Conceptual Metaphor Theory.

4.  To improve the methodology for automatic metaphor detection, thus contributing to a cutting-edge area of research in the field of computational linguistics.

5. To contribute to the debate on how we should talk about mental disorders. A repository of metaphors is going to be created based on the results obtained; this is to promote: 1) public communications about mental health that are more useful and respectful, and 2) better awareness of patients’ narratives among professionals.


The multidisciplinary team conducting this project shares extensive experience in applied linguistics and in several fields relating to mental health (psychology, social education and medical anthropology). As such, MOMENT is a collaborative project aiming to mobilize knowledge combined from various scientific fields to face one of the great challenges of our society: to improve our understanding of severe mental disorders.

FUNDING: Spanish National Research Agency (Agencia Estatal de Investigación, AEI) and the European Regional Development Fund, within the National Programme for Research Aimed at the Challenges of Society. Ref. FFI2017-86969-R (AEI/FEDER, UE).

DURATION: 2018 – 2021