Personal profile

Personal Statement

I joined the School of Psychological Sciences and Health as a lecturer in September 2008, having previously worked as a Research Fellow at Stirling University (with Professor Rory O'Connor). I am a Chartered Psychologist and my research is in the area of Health Psychology. My work is characterised by an interdisciplinary focus (e.g., psychology, health services research, social policy, primary and secondary care, epidemiology) and aims to address key health issues; However, I focus primarily on suicide and self-harm. My main research interest is to understand how self-harm and suicidal thoughts and behaviour begin, why they might be repeated, and how we can eventually stop these. I am particularly interested in understanding the trajectory of these thoughts and behaviours and how this can influence help seeking. I focus on the application of theoretical models to enhance our understanding of the aetiology of suicidal behaviours and psychological well-being across the lifespan, but I am dedicated to examining these experiences for high-risk groups in particular (e.g., adolescents, older adults, and LGBTQ+). I have a track record of obtaining funding for this work (including Wellcome Trust, Chief Scientist Office, ESRC). I am a Centre for Health Policy Fellow in the Centre for Health Policy at Strathclyde University. I am also an affiliate member of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab at the University of Glasgow. My secondary interest is the understanding of vaccine hesitancy in high-risk groups including those who lived with a chronic health condition.

Research Interests

I am a health psychologist with in interest in health behaviours. My primary research interest focusses on conducting research which will inform and create suicide prevention opportunities. The work includes the testing and adaptation of theoretical models of suicide with a focus on identifying unique suicide resilience and risk factors across diverse populations, and across the lifespan. My work specifically attempts to understand why someone might start to feel suicidal, when those thoughts are translated into suicidal behaviours, and to identify opportunities to stop these thoughts and behaviours. My second research interest is understanding the barriers and facilitators of vaccination behaviours, as well as behaviours during disease epidemics. This research has focussed on understanding the factors which impact key health protective behaviours such as handwashing, as well as to understand the psychological processes involved in individual decision making in relation to getting vaccinated against e.g. the flu or COVID-19.

Academic / Professional qualifications

Education:

BA Hons in Psychology (University of Strathclyde)

PhD in Health Psychology (University of Stirling)

PG Certificate in advanced academic studies (university of Strathclyde).

Professional memberships:

  • Registered with the Health Professions Council (CPsychol)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS).
  • Member of the International Academy for Suicide Research.
  • International Affiliate of the American Psychological Association.
  • Member of the American Association of Suicide.
  • Member of the British Psychological Society, Division of Health Psychology. 
  • Affiliate member of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, University of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Affiliate member of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Lab, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Public health psychology
  • Risk and protective factors for suicide and self-harm 
  • Cross-cultural studies of suicidal behaviour
  • Vaccination behaviour and vaccine hesitancy
  • Psychological aspects of infection prevention and control

Teaching Interests

I teach across the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum and I currently lead two undergraduate classes on individual differences and Introduction to Mental Health Difficulties. I am the Associate Dean Undergraduate for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and I am particularly interested in how we support our students' well-being. I run induction sessions for the incoming and continuing students on the faculty's BA degree, and I also contribute to open days.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Keywords

  • Suicide
  • Self-harm
  • Perfectionism
  • Sleep
  • Bereavement
  • Behaviour change
  • Defeat/entrapment
  • Vaccine hesitancy

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