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Exciting PhD Scholarship Opportunity with MHAINTAIN

9 Aug 2022
Doctoral Project: Effectiveness of enhanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for self-harm patients with psychiatric and physical disorders

The School of Public Health and the National Suicide Research Foundation at University College Cork have initiated a new research training programme: Early Identification of Suicide and Self-Harm Risk and Comorbid Mental and Physical Disorders: An Interdisciplinary Training, Research and Intervention Programme (MHAINTAIN), funded by the Health Research Board Ireland, led by an interdisciplinary team.

MHAINTAIN is a research training network addressing the need for doctoral training and career paths, to improve early identification and intervention of self-harm and suicide risk. The Vision of this interdisciplinary consortium is to improve capacity building in the assessment of risk of suicide and self-harm and evidence-based interventions across patient focused research, health services research and population health research. The MHAINTAIN research training programme includes four Doctoral Projects, with five PhD Scholars. MHAINTAIN will offer a representative range of research designs and methodological approaches.

The MHAINTAIN Consortium is led by Professor Ella Arensman, two Co-Leads: Professor Eugene Cassidy and Dr Paul Corcoran, and ten Core Partners.


The MHAINTAIN research training programme will commence in September 2022. The duration of the PhD projects will be four years, until September 2026.

Recruitment for the following MHAINTAIN Doctoral Project is now open. The closing date for applications is 19th August 2022.

Doctoral Project: Effectiveness of enhanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for self-harm patients with psychiatric and physical disorders

This Doctoral Project will comprise a randomised controlled trial (RCT) for self-harm patients with comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), General Anxiety Disorder and/or PTSD, and physical health comorbidity. Patients who present to hospital with self-harm, MDD, Anxiety Disorder or PTSD and comorbid chronic pain and/or inflammatory disease, will be invited to participate in the randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The specific objectives are 1) To examine the impact of an enhanced CBT programme for self-harm patients with psychiatric and physical comorbidities, on both psychological and biological markers and to examine interaction effects, and 2) To determine the requirements for implementation of the optimised CBT treatment programme for mental and physical health comorbidities associated with self-harm as part of national suicide prevention policy. The CBT treatment will be delivered by Psychotherapists and Clinical Psychologists who will be specially trained in the optimised CBT treatment protocols and who are independent from the PhD researchers who are conducting the trial. The successful candidate will work closely with another Scholar on the same project.

To find out more about this exciting opportunity, please click HERE



For more on this story contact:

If you would like to discuss any of this role informally, please contact Professor Ella Arensman (

To apply, click HERE for further information and then submit the following by email to Ms Margaret Kenneally at with subject heading of ‘MHAINTAIN - Doctoral Project’:

  • A CV with contact details for at least two referees
  • A personal statement (maximum 500 words) outlining why you would like to undertake a PhD in the area and explaining how your research interests relate to the post you are applying
  • Transcripts of your undergraduate and Masters’ (If these are not available before the closing date, they may be submitted separately from items above).

 The closing date for applications is Friday 19th August 2022.

School of Public Health

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