• Room 06.310 - Medical Biology Centre

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Suicide prevention and postvention
Supporting people bereaved after suicide
Improving the evidence base for mental health services
Digital mental health
Workplace mental health
Co-design and implementation science methodologies


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I work as a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health in the School of Nursing and Midwifery.  My research interests include evidence based policy and community health; addresssing inequalities; help seeking and access to mental health support; suicide prevention and mental health promotion; and connections between physical, emotional and social health.  

Completed works include surveys in General Practice settings, sociological autopsy studies of suicide (mixed methods, linked data), policy reviews, systematic reviews including meta-analyses and realist evaluation methods. Partnership working is a core feature of my research with emphasis on shared agendas, colloaborative design and methods and impelmentation potential to influence policy and practice. 

I am currently on six PhD students' supervision teams; with primary responsiblitiy for three;

(1) Monica McGrath is working on integrating CBT skills into undergraduate nursing curriculla.

(2) Jill Mulmolland is working to better understand the impact of social prescribing referral mechanisms on health and wellbeing in disadvantaged communties.

(3) Hawa Hassan S Mohammad who is examining the biopsychosocial impact on nurses, of working in ICU during the covid-19 pandemic. 

Completed PhD students include Dr Shane O'Donnell, who developed an intervention for suicide prevention and mental health promotion in men, based on particiaptory arts, specifically digital storytelling approaches. Shane is currently working with IT Carlow and the Health Services Executive, Ireland on implementing mental health and wellbeing programmes in Ireland. 

Dr Colette Ramsey also completed her PhD in 2021, on the implementation of lessons learned, after serious adverse incident reveiws of deaths by sucide in mental health services. Dr Ramsey successfully completed an ESRC funded secondment with Department of Health NI, to disseminate and embed findings. 

Teaching Roles

Currently I coordinate a year two undergraduate Nursing module in which I supervise a team of 15 teaching staff. We teach and assess over 450 students each year, to have raised awareness of working inter professionally to improve mental wellbeing.  We focus on patient care as well as self-care.

  • Working Interprofessionally to improve mental wellbeing. [Lecturer Evaluation 5 out of 5]

I also contribute to teaching for 

  • Evidence Based Nursing, for year two undergraduate Nursing students. 

I was previously involved in teaching the following undergraduate modules:

  • Evidence Based Nursing Year 3, BSc Nursing (Module Co-cordinator, Teaching Evaluations 2015, 2016, Score 5/5)

I have experience teaching on the following Msc / postregistration modules

  • Public Health for Nurses
  • Models of Dementia Care
  • Issues in Dementia Care
  • Therapeutic Interventions: Communicating with People who have Dementia

Student feedback [Nov 2020, Year 2 UGrd Nursing BSc.]:

"I liked how Karen begins our class with a quick chat about how we feel and how we are getting on in the course, it gives the sense that she would be there to help if we have any problems." 

"Well organised and so friendly, Karen motivated me to take time to look over the lectures again as her teaching was great!"

"Approachable teaching style. Canvas was easily laid out and communication was excellent in advance of work required for this module. Plenty of additional resources available"


Leadership Roles

  • Deputy Director, Innovation Zones
  • Co-Chair of the Suicide Prevention Research and Impact Netowrk [SPRIN]
  • Associate Editor, Cochrane Gynecological Cancer Review Group, Cochrane Collaboration
  • Board Member, National Suicide Research Foundation
  • Chair of School Assessment Committee
  • Member of the Education Committee
  • Proportionate ethics reviewer for Faculty


Currently Funded Research Projects

  • From Despair to Hope: The Role of Social Innovation in Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention in High-Risk and Hard-to-Reach Populations in the Global South and North. WITS-QUB Funding £10,000 (2024-2025)

  • Common Health Assets: a mixed methods realist evaluation and economic appraisal of how community led organisations impact on the health and wellbeing of people living in deprived areas.
    PI Baker, R., Kelly M. Co-investigators: Dr Artur Steiner, Dr Jennifer McLean, Dr John Cassidy, Dr Karen Galway, Dr Marcello Bertotti, Dr Pete Seaman, Dr Sarkis Manoukian, Ms Merron Simpson, Professor Antony Morgan, Professor Cam Donaldson, Professor Helen Mason, Professor Jon Godwin, Professor Michael Roy, Professor Sam Porter.   NIHR £1,535,201.12 (2021-2023)


Completed Projects

  • Understanding Suicide, HSC R&D Office Northern Ireland (2010-2016) £320,000
  • Developing a collaborative roadmap for evidence-based practice for the Cancer Fund for Children: a workshop approach. Workshop Scheme, HSC R&D Office Northern Ireland (2015-6 & 2017-8)
  • An evaluation of health & social care professional's family focused practice with parents who have mental illness, their children and families in adult mental health and children's services in Northern Ireland. Commissioned Research, HSC Board, Northern Ireland. (2015-2017)
  • General Practitioners Perceptions on Palliative Care for Individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other progressive dementias, St Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (2013-2015)
  • iAmAware: Online Wellbeing Training - Wellcome Seed Funding. Moriarty, J.Best, P.Galway, K. & Schroder, H. £85,919.00 (2019-2020)
  • iAmAware: Online Wellbeing Training - Wellcome Seed Funding. Moriarty, J.Best, P.Galway, K. & Schroder, H. £85,919.00 (2019-2020)
  • Adapting digital social prescribing for supporting people bereaved by suicide, in collaboration with Elemental Software, funded by Medical Research Council, Proximity to Discovery £22,000 Galway, K., Mallon, S Forbes T., Best P., Santin., O., Leavey G., Pitman, A. (2018)

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 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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