Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Youth Mental Health lab - People

Faculty Members

Barbara Dooley headshot

Barbara Dooley (Founding faculty member)
Barbara Dooley is Dean of Graduate Studies and Deputy Registrar and a Professor of Psychology. She was the Principal Investigator for My World Survey 1 (2012) and My World Survey 2 (2019). The My World Surveys are a collaboration between the UCD School of Psychology and Jigsaw, studying risk and protective factors in young people aged 12-25 years old. She is a member of the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention Evaluation Advisory Group & Vice-President of the International Association for Youth Mental Health.

Amanda Fitzgerald headshot

Amanda Fitzgerald (Founding faculty member)
Amanda is an Associate Professor in UCD School of Psychology.  Her research focuses on understanding risk and protective factors of young people's mental health, with a specific interest in the area of early interventions for adolescent mental health and use of e-technologies for improving various psychosocial problems. She is Co-PI on a MoodMovement research network aiming to identify existing and emerging technologies to facilitate help-seeking, stigma reduction and support of young people's mental health.
Twitter @Mood_Movement

Eilis Hennessy headshot

Eilis Hennessy (Founding faculty member)
Eilis Hennessy is a professor in UCD School of Psychology. Her research addresses stigma, experienced by children and adolescents who have mental health and behavioural problems. Her research with children and young people spans age 8 years to age 24. As part of this research programme she and her colleagues have developed and published questionnaires for measuring mental health stigma, examined the perception of stigma experienced by young people and their families, and worked with mental health charities to reduce stigma in secondary school pupils. 

Niki Nearchou headshot

Niki Nearchou (Faculty member)
Dr Finiki (Niki) Nearchou is an Assistant Professor with the UCD School of Psychology and a UCD Ad Astra Fellow. Niki is the Coordinator of Research on the UCD Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology.  Niki's research focuses on resilience and youth mental health research by applying sophisticated analytical techniques and methodologies. She developed a socio-ecological model that can be applied to identify protective factors of resilience following exposure to different types of adversities such as child abuse and chronic illness.

Aileen O’Reilly  headshot

Aileen O’Reilly (Faculty member)
Dr Aileen O’Reilly is Research & Evaluation Manager at Jigsaw - The National Centre for Youth Mental health, where she reports directly to the CEO and is responsible for the overall management and delivery of the research and evaluation function. She is also an adjunct Asst. Prof. in the School of Psychology, University College Dublin (UCD). Dr O’Reilly’s work has played a critical role in the development of youth mental health services globally. She has been involved in a number of national and international collaborative research projects, including the second My World Survey, which was published in 2019, and the HRB funded YOULEAD Doctoral Leadership Programme.
Email: Aileen.OReilly@jigsaw.ie
Twitter: @aioreill

Graduate researchers 

Alanna Donnelly headshot

Alanna Donnelly BA(Hons), MLitt (Psychology). Psychologist in Clinical Training (DPsychSc)
Alanna is currently training on the DPsychSc in Clinical Psychology in CHO 9 (North Dublin). She is working with Professor Barbara Dooley academically on the programme, and her research is exploring the mental health of adolescents from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds. She is completing a systematic review and narrative synthesis on the lived experience of mental health of adolescents from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds in developed countries, which will inform an empirical investigation of the My World Survey 2 adolescent data (http://myworldsurvey.ie/).

Systematic review registered with Prospero https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?ID=CRD42020211216

Placeholder headshot

Ellen Douglas BA, MSc. is a Psychologist in Clinical Training and is supervised by Assistant Professor Niki Nearchou. Ellen’s research focuses on exploring the effectiveness of positive psychology interventions to reduce stress and depression. She is also conducting research in exploring the aspects of positive psychology that may contribute to tackle the impact of COVID-19 on psychological well-being.

Katie Duffy headshot

Katie Duffy BA (Psychology). MPsychSc. Psychologist in Clinical Training. Katie is currently completing her training on the DPsychSc Clinical Psychology Programme in CHO 1 Cavan/Monaghan. Katie’s research is supervised by Dr Niki Nearchou and is aimed at exploring the association between emotional eating and trauma across the lifespan. Katie will be conducting a systematic review on emotional eating as a construct and how it is operationalised within the existing literature. The systematic review will inform the empirical study which will explore client’s lived experiences of emotional eating behaviours and trauma that may be associated with same.
Email: katie.duffy@ucdconnect.ie

Maeve Dwan O’Reilly headshot

Maeve Dwan O’Reilly B.Rel.Ed., H. Dip., MPsychSc. Maeve is a PhD Candidate supervised by Professor Eilis Hennessy (UCD) Dr Caroline Heary (NUIG). Maeve is carrying out her PhD in collaboration with Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, funded by the Irish Research Council. Maeve is interested in mental health literacy in secondary schools and the role school staff play in supporting student mental health. Maeve is currently working with Jigsaw to explore staff involvement in the whole school mental health literacy initiative One Good School. Maeve is also currently working with M.Psych.Sc. student Laura Walsh to examine teacher confidence around addressing mental health and delivering mental health content. Maeve has a background in teaching having trained as an English and religion secondary school teacher and having worked for many years as an ESL teacher.
Email: maeve.dwanoreilly@ucdconnect.ie
Twitter: @MaeveDOR

Zahra Farahani headshot

Zahra Farahani PhD. Zahra is a postdoctoral researcher working with Professor Barbara Dooley on the 3SET project, and a member of the YMH lab since 2019. Funded by the Higher Education Authority Innovation and Transformation call, the 3SET project is a collaboration across University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and Athlone Institute of Technology. The aim of the work package in UCD is to develop a national standardised database for Higher Education student counselling services. Zahra’s PhD research focused on the factors influencing the psychological inclusion of Muslim women and children in Ireland.
Email: zahra.tayerfarahani@ucd.ie 

Clodagh Flinn headshot

Clodagh Flinn, B.A., MPsychSc. Ad Astra Fellow PhD Studentship.  Clodagh’s research is supervised by Assistant Professor Niki Nearchou.  Clodagh joined the Youth Mental Health Lab in 2018.
Clodagh’s previous research focused on sexual health young people. This includes research on partner notification for Sexually Transmitted Infections and online sexual health information seeking in young adults. Her PhD research aims to explore the impact of chronic skin conditions on well-being and quality of life in young people, in addition to identifying and understanding factors associated with resilience.  Clodagh is also working on the Your Youth Health Project in the UCD School of Psychology, which aims to explore young peoples’ mental health and well-being during Covid-19.

Nearchou, F., Flinn, C., Niland, R., Subramaniam, S. S., & Hennessy, E. (2020). Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health Outcomes in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22), 8479.
Email: clodagh.flinn@ucdconnect.ie
Twitter: @ClodaghFlinn

Aine French headshot 
Aine French BA. MLitt candidate, supervised by Assistant Professor Niki Nearchou.  Aine is currently conducting a systematic review on the relationship between sleep and self-harm in young people as part of her M.Litt. studies. She is hoping to continue on to the Ph.D. programme to further explore the nature of this relationship using digital phenotyping.
Email: aine.french@ucdconnect.ie

Emma Howard headshot

Emma Howard MSc, PhD. Emma is a postdoctoral researcher working with Professor Barbara Dooley on the 3SET project, and a member of the YMH lab since 2019. Funded by the Higher Education Authority Innovation and Transformation call, the 3SET project is a collaboration across University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and Athlone Institute of Technology. The aim of the work package in UCD is to develop a national standardised database for Higher Education student counselling services. As well as student mental health research, Emma's research interests include the areas of undergraduate mathematics education, assessment and feedback, resource usage, student support services and online learning. Her PhD research focused on supporting students in large first-year undergraduate mathematics courses.
email: emma.howard@ucd.ie.
Twitter: @ehoward09

Ciara Mahon headshot

Ciara Mahon PhD is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Youth Mental Health Lab at University College Dublin working with Professor Barbara Dooley and Associate Professor Amanda Fitzgerald. She is currently investigating factors influencing the mental health of 20,000 youths who completed the My World Survey 2: A National Study of Youth Mental Health.

Ciara has a passion for applied, theory driven research and adopts a blend of quantitative and qualitative methods in her own research. Her research interests include youth and adolescent mental health, health behaviours, body image, social media and self-compassion. Her PhD investigated social media's effects on body image and psychological wellbeing of youths and adolescents. It also evaluated the effectiveness of compassion focused approaches to address body dissatisfaction in adolescents.
Email: ciara.mahon@ucd.ie 

Niall (Neil) MacDhonnagain TV screengrab 

Niall (Neil) MacDhonnagain B.A.(Psychology). Ph.D. candidate.  Neil has been a member of the lab since 2016. Neil is investigating a brief intervention model of support for youth mental health in Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health. His research focuses on the risk factors for psychological distress among help-seeking young people, the experiences of young people engaging in brief intervention support, and young people’s mental health outcomes following brief intervention support. His project is supervised by Professor Barbara Dooley and Dr Aileen O’Reilly (Research Manager at Jigsaw), and is part of the YOULEAD programme funded by the Health Research Board. Neil completed his BA Psychology in UCD in 2016, and is a former member of the Youth Advisory Panel in Jigsaw Dublin City. His project is supervised by Professor Barbara Dooley and Dr Aileen O’Reilly (Research & Evaluation Manager at Jigsaw),
Email: niall.mac-dhonnagain@ucdconnect.ie     
Twitter: @neilmacdh 

Gillian Motyer headshot

Gillian Motyer BA (International) Psychology.  Gillian is a PhD Scholar in the UCD School of Psychology conducting research funded by the Irish Research Council and the National Children’s Research Centre. Her research is supervised by Associate Professor Amanda Fitzgerald. Gillian is completing her doctoral studies in paediatric psychology, on the topic of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and the experiences of families affected by this condition. Her recent research includes the SCOLI Study, an investigation of psychosocial wellbeing and coping among adolescents diagnosed with scoliosis.
Email: gillian.motyer@ucdconnect.ie

Daráine Murphy headshot

Daráine Murphy BA (Psychology), M.Psych.Sc. Daráine is a PhD Scholar in the School of Psychology Youth Mental Health Lab and member of YouLead (Health Research Board CDA-programme in youth mental health leadership). Her research is supervised by Professor Eilis Hennessy (UCD) and Dr Caroline Heary (NUIG). Daráine is currently completing a PhD which explores parents’ experiences of seeking help for adolescent mental health difficulties. Her latest study, the PARSEEK study, is exploring parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of distress and is working alongside M.Psych.Sc student Aoife Brady.
Email: daraine.murphy@ucdconnect.ie
Twitter: @DaraineM

Gráinne Murphy headshot

Gráinne Murphy  BA(Hons), M.Psych.Sc. Psychologist in Clinical Training. Gráinne is currently studying on the DPsychSc in Clinical Psychology in CHO 9 (Dublin North). She is working with Dr Niki Nearchou and Associate Professor Christine Linehan exploring resilience in older adults with Intellectual Disability. Gráinne will be conducting a systematic review exploring how resilience has been operationalised in studies with people with Intellectual Disability and if there has been any inconsistency/overlap in how it has being investigated. 

Rachel Niland headshot

Rachel Niland, BSc., MPsychSc. Rachel is a PhD Candidate with the School of Psychology, UCD, supervised by Assistant Professor Niki Nearchou. Rachel’s PhD research is exploring the role of sex education programmes in sexual health behaviours of young people in Ireland. Rachel joined the Youth Mental Health Lab in 2018. 

Nearchou, F., Flinn, C., Niland, R., Siva Subramaniam, S., & Hennessy, E. (2020) “Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on mental health outcomes in children and adolescents: A systematic review”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22) 8479.
Niland, R., & Nearchou, F. (2020) “Self-efficacy and outcome beliefs as predictors of intentions to notify partners for Sexually Transmitted Infections in Ireland”. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 58(1), 42-50
Email: rachel.niland@ucdconnect.ie
Twitter: @RachelNiland

Maria Tibbs headshot

Maria Tibbs, BA (Hons), MSc, PhD Candidate, IRC scholar.
Maria is currently completing her PhD alongside Jigsaw – National Centre for Youth Mental Health and UCD School of Psychology. Her project focuses on Jigsaw’s online chat-based mental health support for young people aged 12-25, Jigsaw Live Chats. Specifically, she is interested in the profile of young people that present to online chat-based services and the processes and mechanisms that might impact therapeutic change. Supervisors: Associate Prof. Amanda Fitzgerald and Dr. Aileen O’Reilly.
Twitter: @MariaTibbs1 

UCD School of Psychology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.