YOULEAD 1st Annual Youth Mental Health Research Lunchtime Webinar Series

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This week YOULEAD are holding a series of online lunchtime events leading up to World Mental Health Day on October 10th. 1ST Annual Youth Mental Health Research Meeting -Informing Policy, Changing Practice.

Lunchtime Webinar Series 5th – 9th October 2020

Register here.

Annual Youth Mental Health Research Conference outline:

The Annual Youth Mental Health Research conference will take the form of a series of webinars taking place each lunchtime (1-2pm) from Monday 5th to Friday 9th October 2020.

Monday 5th Oct 1-2pm – Public health approaches to youth mental health & wellbeing:
Prof. Margaret Barry (NUI Galway) -Effective Strategies for promoting youth mental health and wellbeing

Prof. Siobhan O’Neill (Ulster University) – Suicide prevention in young people – current issues and challenges

Followed by Q&A – Chair Professor Eilis Hennessy UCD , Co-Chair Daraine Murphy UCD

Tuesday 6th Oct 1-2pm- Evidence based online interventions for youth mental health difficulties
Claudette Pretorius & Darragh McCashin (UCD) – An Overview of Technology Enabled Youth Mental Health: Perspectives from a European Project

Dr Gary O’Reilly (UCD) – Those Pesky gNATs: Online tools for CBT in young people.

Followed by Q&A. Chair Dr Padraig MacNeela NUIG, Co-Chair Dr Emmet Power RCSI

Wednesday 7th Oct 1-2pm– Understanding the anxiety epidemic in young people: before, and during, Covid-19
Dr Aileen O’Reilly (Jigsaw & UCD) – Understanding and responding to youth anxiety pre and post Covid-19

Professor Cathy Creswell (University of Oxford) – Interventions for anxiety disorders in Youth Mental Health

Followed by Q&A. Chair Dr Caroline Heary NUIG , Co-Chair Neill MacDhonnagain UCD

Thursday 8th Oct 1-2pm – Building youth mental health services
YOULEAD Youth advisory panel – Reaching for help: A spoken word presentation based on lived experience. In collaboration with

Keynote Address by Professor Max Birchwood (University of Warwick) -Youth mental health services research – Learning from the past, building for the future.

Followed by Q&A Chair Professor Gary Donohoe NUIG, Co-Chairs Emma Frawley and Emer Conneely NUIG

Friday 9th Oct 1-2pm -A panel discussion focused on understanding and overcoming the barriers to youth mental health services.
Facilitated by Dr Tony Bates, Founder of Jigsaw.

Panellists: Professor Max Birchwood (University of Warwick), Mr. Ian Power (CEO,, Dr Niall Muldoon (The Children’s Ombudsman), Professor Barbara Dooley (UCD), Emma Frawley (NUIG), Emily Atkinson and Megan Cowman from our YOULEAD Youth Advisory Panel.

Annual Youth Mental Health Research speakers

Professor Margaret Barry NUI Galway. Prof Barry holds the Established Chair in Health Promotion and Public Health at NUI Galway, where she is Head of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research. Professor Barry has published widely in health promotion and works closely with policymakers and practitioners on the development, implementation and evaluation of mental health promotion interventions and policies at national and international level. Professor Barry has extensive experience of coordinating international and European collaborative projects, serving as project leader on WHO projects and European Union funded research initiatives. Professor Barry also serves on a number of international and European steering groups and scientific committees and has acted as expert adviser on mental health promotion policy and research development in a number of countries around the world. Professor Barry was re-appointed in 2016 for a second term to the European Commission Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Investing in Health (2016-2019) and was elected as global President of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education in 2019

Professor Siobhain O’Neill Ulster University – Professor O’Neil is a member of the World Mental Health Survey Consortium, and she sits on the Board of Directors, and advisory boards of several counselling and suicide prevention services. She has published approximately 200 academic and research papers, including numerous studies of mental health and suicide in Northern Ireland. She regularly write opinion pieces and contribute to media items on mental health and suicide prevention. In September 2019 Prof O’ Neil co-hosted and co-chaired the scientific committee of the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s, 30th World Congress in her home city, Derry. Her 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.

Dr Aileen O’Reilly Jigsaw – 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 an adjunct Asst. Prof. in the School of Psychology, University College Dublin (UCD), where she is supervising a number of postgraduate students. 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.

Claudette Pretorius UCD. Ms Pretorius is a PhD with with human computer interaction group at UCD. Her PhD project investigates the online help-seeking behaviours of young people using the Internet for mental health support. This project is being carried out as part of the Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People (TEAM) program, a European Union’s Horizon 2020 research program. Claudette received an MA in Counselling Psychology form Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and a BA (Hons) in Psychology from the University of South Africa.

Darragh McCashin UCD. Mr McCashin holds an undergraduate degree in sociology and social policy, in addition to a postgraduate qualification in psychology. He is interested in how and why technology can be applied for desired outcomes. He has worked in primary education, applying iPad 1-to-1 pedagogy within international curricula. He also has an MSc and applied research experience in forensic psychology, where he specialised in the case formulation of online offenders. His interest in CHI is in the theoretical and methodological overlap between HCI, psychology, industry and policy. Current research-his current project is evaluating the role of a computerised cognitive behavioural therapy intervention for young children (Pesky gNATs – O’Reilly & Coyle, 2015).

Professor Gary O’Reilly -Professor O’ Reilly is Director of the Doctoral Training Programme in Clinical Psychology at UCD. A practicing clinician as well as academic researcher, he holds a part time appointment as a Principal Clinical Psychologist at the Children’s University Hospital, Temple St. I am both a. In recent years a significant focus of Gary’s work is the development and evaluation of child friendly Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) interventions for young people delivered through a computer game and App called “Pesky Gnats”. He and his team seek to contribute to the transformation of mental health intervention for young people through technology, following the belief that funding (or lack of funding) to a service should not be a barrier to any young person accessing online supports.

Professor Cathy Creswell, University of Oxford. Prof. Creswell is Professor of Clinical Psychology, NIHR Research Professor, Honorary Consultant clinical Psychologist (Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust). Her research mainly focuses on the development, maintenance and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and young people. Her team applies a broad range of methods (including experimental, longitudinal, clinical trial and qualitative methods and systematic reviews) with children, young people and families in both community and clinical settings, with the ultimate aim of improving access to and outcomes from psychological treatments for these common conditions.

Professor Max Birchwood University of Warwick – Prof Birchwood pioneered the concept and practice of early intervention in psychosis in the UK and internationally and opened the UK’s first Early Intervention in Psychosis service in 1994, informed by his concept of the ‘critical period’ in psychosis, which he translated into the mental health policy framework for the UK government as part of the NHS ‘National Plan’. The service has been replicated with over 140 teams across the country and many internationally. His research on delays in pathways to these services informed the current wait time standards for early psychosis teams. He leads the national evaluation of these services through the NIHR National EDEN and SUPEREDEN programme grants. Max was given the Richard Wyatt award for ‘outstanding contribution to early psychosis research and treatment’, by the IEPA ( ). He has undertaken leading edge research into the application of CBT to psychosis: his RCTs in acute psychosis (1996; 2000), in reducing harmful compliance with command hallucinations (2004,2013), and in high social disability in early psychosis (2018) and collaborative RCTs in high risk psychosis (2012), are regarded as breakthrough trials and have been incorporated into UK NICE guidelines for schizophrenia. He has also undertaken extensive work developing the cognitive model of ‘voices’ , particularly the role of appraisals of voices’ power and their role in driving affective dysregulation and compliance with command hallucinations Max was a member of the NICE guideline development group for schizophrenia in children and young people (2013) and adults (2014). He has published over 220 papers with a Google Scholar H-index of 73.

Annual Youth Mental Health Research panelists

Dr Tony Bates – Dr Bates is a Clinical Psychologist. He was Head of Psychology in St James’s Hospital Dublin until 2006, during which time he established and directed the MSc Cognitive Psychotherapy in TCD. He founded Jigsaw (The National Centre for Youth Mental Health) in 2006 to serve young people and their mental health needs, serving as CEO until 2018. Tony has been active in shaping and writing government policy since 2006. He was made honorary Professor of Psychology in UCD in September 2018 as a tribute to his contribution to the field. He trained as a mindfulness teacher in University of North Wales, Bangor in 2001 and has been active since in disseminating Mindfulness in Ireland. Tony now lives on a cliff outside Grange, north of Sligo, where he writes, consults and looks after over 100 wild birds, a wild fox, a badger and a tribe of wild rabbits. Father of three, grandfather of four.

Professor Barbara Dooley – UCD – Prof. Dooley is Dean of Graduate Studies & Deputy Registrar at UCD. She is a member of UCD School of Psychology and former Director of Research for Headstrong – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health form 2007-2016. She led the MYWorld and MYWordl 2 Surveys (, a survey of the mental health of young people in Ireland. The My World Study is the first national study of youth mental health in Ireland. The report presents the findings of a very large sample of young people (N> 14,000) aged 12-25 years looking at both the risk and the protective factors.

Dr Niall Muldoon – Ombudsman for Children – Dr Muldoon is Ireland’s Ombudsman for Children. He was appointed as Ombudsman by President Michael D Higgins in February 2015. His background is as a clinical psychologist and he has worked in the area of child protection for almost 20 years. Before becoming Ombudsman for Children in 2015, He worked at the OCO as Director of Investigations, and before that he was the national clinical director of The CARI Foundation, a charity that provides therapy and support for children affected by sexual abuse. He lives in Dublin with his wife and two daughters, and although as a passionate GAA supporter, he can appreciate the positives of being a Dub, he is a Donegal man through and through. As Ombudsman for Children, he wants to see an Ireland where all children and young people are actively heard and respected so that they experience safe, fulfilling and happy everyday lives.

Ian Power CEO Spunout – Ian is CEO of Community Creations, the not-for-profit company behind the award-winning and Crisis Text Line Ireland. is Ireland’s youth wellbeing information website by young people, for young people with over 1.6 million young people using resources in 2019. Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7, anonymous messaging service for young people in mental health crisis. Ian is also a board member of the Citizens Information Board (CIB), and a board member of the Community Foundation for Ireland. Ian is also a regular contributor on Today FM, Newstalk, Spin1038, iRadio and Beat102103.

Emma Frawley – NUIG. Emma is a Senior Occupational Therapist and YOULEAD research trainee. She graduated with an MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in 2010. Since that time, she has worked in clinical practice both in Ireland and the US. Emma is currently 1 of 5 YOULEAD research trainees, she is undertaking a PhD with Prof. Gary Donohoe at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her YOULEAD project is entitled the Cognitive Remediation & Social Recovery in Early Psychosis study (CReSt-R) and explores a novel psychosocial intervention, focused on social recovery, in young people in the early stages of psychosis. She also co-established the YOULEAD Youth Advisory panel (YAP) alongside her fellow trainee, Emer Conneely.

Emily Atkinson – Member of the YOULEAD Youth Advisory Panel- Emily holds an undergraduate degree in Psychological Studies, Sociology and Politics from NUIG and is currently pursuing a H. Dip in Psychology. She has been on the Youlead YAP for the past year and has worked on the Spoken Word presentation that will be performed at the Webinar. Emily was the President of NUIG Psychological Society, as well as a NUIGSU Welfare Crew member, Ceim Student Leader, and an Active Consent workshop facilitator.

Megan Cowman – Member of the YOULEAD Youth Advisory Panel – Megan is also a research assistant on the YOULEAD CReSt-R project. She completed her BA, Higher Diploma in Psychology and MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at NUI Galway. She is starting a PhD with the PSYcHE programme in January 2021 that will focus on identifying predictors of psychosocial function in early psychosis. Her research interests include the development and evaluation of cognitive and psychosocial therapies for young people with mental health disorders.

Annual Youth Mental Health Research



Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
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