I joined Ulster University in 2000, following a degree in Psychology at the Queen's University of Belfast and a Masters in Health Psychology at NUI Galway. I also worked as a Public Health Researcher, conducting evaluations of health services and users’ experience of care.
In 2008 I coordinated the largest ever study of mental health in Northern Ireland, the World Mental Health Survey, NI Study of Health and Stress. This study was one of the first to highlight the high proportions of the people in NI population who suffer from mental illness. It also identified the rates of illness associated with the Troubles. I also coordinated the largest detailed study of suicides and undetermined deaths here, at a time when the suicide rates were rising rapidly.
I am now on a mission to develop research studies, and promote evidence-based services and care for those who suffer from mental illness and suicidal thoughts.
I remain a member of the World Mental Health Survey Consortium, and I sit on the Board of Directors, and advisory boards of several counselling and suicide prevention services. I have around 200 academic and research papers, including numerous studies of mental health and suicide in Northern Ireland. I regularly write opinion pieces and contribute to media items on mental health and suicide prevention. In September 2019 I co-hosted and co-chaired the scientific committee of the International Association for Suicide Prevention's, 30th World Congress in my home city, Derry.
My current research programmes focus on ZeroSuicide in health services in NI, mental health and suicide prevention in schools and colleges, childhood adversities and trauma informed practice, and the transgenerational transmission of trauma. Please get in touch and let me know how we can work together.