Mental Health and Well-being

Impact - our research has led to:

  • Attracting national and european funding
  • Collaboration with researchers across Europe, Australia and the U.S.
  • Increased recovery literacy and self-reduced stuigmatising attitudes among nursing students across 6 countries
  • The co-production of research and education between academics and mental health experts by experience
  • Use of Smartphone Application by mental health service users which could improve self-management of wellbeing
  • Publications in top peer reviewed nursing and health care journals


Aims & Objectives

The research cluster aims to conduct national and international collaborative research that enhances the mental health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and families.  We are particularly interest in young people's mental health, e-health, addiction nursing, early onset dementia, practice development, recovery, and co-production.  Our specific objectives are:

  • To enhance knowledge and understanding of mental health and wellbeing
  • To develop participatory methodologies in mental health and wellbeing research
  • To generate and disseminate research that is relevant to clinical practice and communities
  • To promote the mental health and wellbeing of young people


ENGAGE, Interdisciplinary Clinical Mental Health Research Network aims to promote, generate and disseminates high quality collaborative research to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of people across the lifespan. The network is based on principles of inclusivity and partnership across communities and services, and values diversity in perspectives on mental health and methodological ideologies. The Network is based within the College of Medicine and Health at University College Cork. ENGAGE is a collaborative venture between UCC, the HSE and the voluntary sector that aims to forge alliances between clinicians, service users, carers, the public and researchers from across the Southern region. The network’s interdisciplinary nature allows for multiple perspectives in addressing complex challenges in the field of mental health, and as such can inform public policy, academic debates and professional practice in mental health.

The network is chaired by Dr Aine Horgan




  • COMMUNE (Co-production of mental health nursing education), funded by Erasmus + Strategic Partnership Systematic review of mental health related digital use by university students, funded by Institute Recherche en Sante Publique (France).
  • Systematic review on the effectiveness of interventions to promote mental health in young people.
  • Evaluation of peer group clinical supervision for nurses and midwives, funded by NMPDU
  • Development and Evaluation of mental health service users' experiences of the mental health app 'OPPO' funded by HSE
  • School Bullying - An evaluation of Cyclone Rep theatre intervention



Dr Aine Horgan (PhD, MSc, BNS, PGCert TLHE, RPN)

Dr Aine Horgan is a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland and has responsibility for the strategic development of mental health nursing education and research. She is a registered Psychiatric Nurse and has worked in both the private and public mental health services.  Aine's research interests focus on young people's mental health, with a specific interest in positive mental health, peer support and e-health. She is also interested in participatory models of research and working in partnership with mental health service users in the research process. Aine has collaborated with a number of international researchers in countries such as Iceland, Finland, France, Spain, Portugal, Australia, Norway and the US. She sits on the International Scientific Committee for the European Conference on Mental Health and on the editorial board of Issues in Mental Health Nursing. Aine supervises a number of research students undertaking MSc, DN (clinical doctorate) and PhD degrees.



Johnny Goodwin (UCC)  

Johnny Goodwin (MA, PG Dip (PIMHC), BA , BSc, ALCM, Dip (management), RPN) has a background in acute mental health nursing. Johnny has an interest in relapse prevention / early interventions in psychosis, and completed his postgraduate diploma in this area. Having completed a masters in film studies, he also has a keen interest in media representations of mental distress, and has published in mental health and popular culture journals. He is currently in the final year of his Ph.D. studies in UCC. The title of his thesis is “adolescents’ perceptions of  mental health services”.


Peter Kelly (UCC)

Peter Kelly (MSc, BSc, Dip, RPN) has worked as a mental health and addictions specialist nurse for over 15 years. His previous clinical appointments include Clinical Nurse Manager, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner. These posts have been held in Ireland the UK and Australia. Peter has been lecturing in Mental Health Nursing in WIT and UCC on a full time and part time basis for over five years. He has an academic background in mental health, substance misuse, counselling and public health. His PhD study is examining the relationship between organisational dynamics and client engagement in community substance misuse treatment services. Peter is currently on the board of The Ireland Chapter of The International Nurses Society on Addictions, and is an ex-president and a founding member of this organisation. Peter continues to engage in professional development activities and contributes to national policy as a member of IntNSA.


Dr Caroline Kilty (UCC)

Caroline studied Mental Health Nursing in Edinburgh in the year 2000. Whilst working in the fields of acute psychiatry, addictions and eating disorders, Caroline completed a BSc in Health Studies (2004) and an MSc in Mental Health Psychology at Glasgow (2005). Following her return to Cork in 2006, Caroline worked as Nurse Manager at the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, and commenced a PhD in the area of young onset dementia (2009). Once this was completed, Caroline spent 3 years working as a post-doctoral researcher in UCC. This included time spent working on clinical trials for people with memory issues. Caroline then completed a further 2 years post-doctoral work on health professions research and theories of learning at the School of Medicine. Since February 2015, Caroline has been teaching on post-graduate Gerontology program at the School of Nursing, on topics areas relating to dementia, and psychosocial theories of aging. She joined the School of Nursing teaching full-time in 2017. Areas of interest include dementia, young onset dementia, mental health of the older adult, everyday ethics, and identity, choice & personhood in later life.


Fionnuala Manning (UCC/EBE)

Fionnuala is currently a part time mental health lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC. She has a past history of experiencing severe human distress and using the mental health services. She uses these experiences to inspire her teaching content. She also presents to mental health professionals occasionally. Fionnuala has a particular interest in the areas of hearing voices, paranoia and eating disorders. Fionnuala’s research has focussed on co-production of mental health nursing education and has published numerous academic papers and presented at many national and international conferences.


Sonya Greaney (HSE/EBE), Peer Support Worker, HSE South.


Dr James O'Mahony (HSE/UCC), PhD, MBA, MSc, Pg Dip CBT, BSc, RPN, RANP, MBABCP Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC. Area Director of Mental Health Nursing, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

 Dr O Mahony has worked in the area of mental health since the late 90’s as a mental health nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Primary Care Mental Health, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Psychotherapy, Assistant Director of Nursing and more recently Area Director of Nursing. He is an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) which is a specialised form of psychotherapy used to work with individuals experiencing severe emotional dysregulation or those experiencing self-harm and suicidal behaviours. His PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in Medicine & Health with University College Cork examined how social discourses impact on how individuals’ conceptualise depression. He teaches on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses in mental health nursing, on the Doctor of Clinical Psychology programme and is the programme lead for the MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (year 3). James supervises a number of research students undertaking the MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, and DN (clinical doctorate) degrees. His research interests include the phenomenological experience of depression; depression as an embodied experience; the phenomenological experience of insomnia; emotionally unstable personality disorder and cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia and other sleep disorders.


Ms. Moira O'Donovan



International collaborations

  • Professor Brenda Happell, Professor of Nursing, Newcastle University, Australia.
  • Professor Pall Biering, Professor of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland.
  • Dr Ilaria Montagni Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, University of Bordeaux, France.



PhD/Doctoral Students

  • John Goodwin: Adolescents perceptions of mental health services.
  • Peter Kelly: Mixed methods study of the relationship between organisational readiness to change and i) innovation adoption and ii) client engagement in community substance misuse prescribing services in Ireland.
  • Orla Bushnell: The impact of workplace trauma on family life and intimate relationships.
  • Michael Anthony Reen: Mental Health Nurses Experiences of uncertainty in child and adolescent inpatient units.
  • Sinead Heffernan: Trauma informed care in child and adolescent mental health services.
  • Moira O'Donovan: Hope in families when a family member experiences mental distress.
  • Marie O'Malley: crisis nursing.
  • Hazel O’Sullivan: Nurses understanding of Trauma Informed Care in Child and Adolescent Mental health Services

School of Nursing and Midwifery

Scoil an Altranais agus an Chnáimhseachais

Brookfield Health Sciences Complex College Road Cork, Ireland , T12 AK54