The current national mental health policy, Sharing the Vision – a Mental Health Policy for Everyone 2020-2030, was published in 2020. Sharing the Vision is Ireland’s whole system policy to enhance the provision of mental health services and supports across a broad continuum, from promotion of positive mental health to specialist mental health service delivery. Mental health research was identified within Sharing the Vision as a key enabler to support and encourage change.
National Mental Health Research Expert Group
In the 2022-2024 Implementation Plan for Sharing the Vision, Recommendation 93 tasks the HRB, as the lead research funding agency in health and social care research in Ireland, with the following:
"A National Population Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research and Evaluation Strategy should be developed and resourced to support a portfolio of research and evaluation activity in accordance with priorities identified in the Research Strategy."
In line with this recommendation, HRB has established a National Mental Health Research Expert Group to support the development of the strategy. The Expert Group convened for the first time in June 2023 and meets monthly. The Expert Group works to an agreed Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference requires that the Group conducts its activities in an open and ethical manner and that members make every effort to attend meetings, devote sufficient time to reading supporting information, and identify and declare conflicts of interests, in accordance with HRB’s policies.
The independent Chair of the Group is Dr Fiona Keogh, who has extensive research experience in academia and in the non-profit sector and has recently retired from her role as Director of Policy and Research for Mental Health Ireland. Membership of the Expert Group includes lived experience experts, academic leaders, CEOs of non-profit organisations, and public sector experts.
HRB provides the secretariat of the Expert Group and has appointed a dedicated Programme Manager to support the Group in all aspects of their work. The Programme Manager acts as the key point of contact for engagement with the National Implementation Monitoring Committee and its specialist groups, and ensures that the national mental health research agenda is advanced in the context of international opportunities and in accordance with best practice.
The National Mental Health Research Strategy is expected to be completed in 2024. HRB reports quarterly regarding progress on Recommendation 93 to the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee, which was established to drive Sharing the Vision forward and ensure robust policy implementation oversight and governance. When the Research Strategy is complete, it will be presented to the Board of the HRB for approval, and it will then be presented to the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee and will subsequently be published.
Fiona Keogh – Chair, National Mental Health Research Expert Group
Camille Boostrom – Programme Manager for Mental Health, Health Research Board
Margaret Barry – Established Chair in Health Promotion and Public Health, University of Galway
Mary Cannon – Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
David Cotter – Professor of Psychiatry, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
Belinda Coyle – Lived experience expert
Fiona Coyle – CEO, Mental Health Reform
Sarah Craig – Head of National Health Information Systems, Health Research Board
Walter Cullen – Professor of Urban General Practice, University College Dublin
Gary Donohoe – Established Professor of Psychology, University of Galway
Barbara Dooley – Vice President and Professor of Psychology, University College Dublin
Jo Henderson – Executive Director, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Agnes Higgins – Professor in Mental Health Nursing in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin
Brendan Kennelly – Senior Lecturer and Health Economist, University of Galway
Sinéad McGilloway – Professor of Family and Community Mental Health and Founder Director for the Centre for Mental Health and Community Research, Department of Psychology and Social Sciences Institute, Maynooth University
Ciaran Mulholland – Mental Health Clinical Lead, Northern Ireland’s Clinical Research Network
Patrick O’Donnell – Associate Professor of General Practice, School of Medicine, University of Limerick
Marysia Pachowicz – Lived experience expert
Ian Power – CEO, Spun out
Derek Richards – Head of Research, Amwell
Ana Terres – HSE Head of Research and Evidence, Assistant National Director
Frédérique Vallieres – Associate Professor of Global Health and Director of the Trinity Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin