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Professor Agnes Higgins

Professor in Mental Health (School of Nursing & Midwifery)

Agnes is a professor in mental health nursing within the School of Nursing and Midwifery where she teaches and supervises across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and leads a team of lecturers and researchers in developing quality evidence to inform mental health education, practice and policy decisions. She is a registered mental health nurse, general nurse and nurse tutor with over thirty five years' clinical and education experience in the areas of mental health, palliative/hospice care and general nursing. She holds a PhD from Trinity, a Master's in Education and Management from Dublin City University, and a primary degree in Nursing Studies from University College Dublin. She was elected Fellow within College in 2014 and Elected Fellow (Ad Eundem) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2016. She is a member of many national and international organisations and groups related to mental health, including expert panel member of Horatio, member of the Grounded Theory Institute, and Member of European Network of Training, Education and Research in Mental Health. In 2002 she was awarded the Provost award for teaching excellence. As a leader of multidisciplinary and multi-institutional bids with internationally recognised partners and in line with a key priority of government and national/international mental health policy, her research programme focuses on building a body of work that promotes mental health recovery, drives mental health service reform and improves mental health practice. The central theme underpinning her research is on increasing understanding of service users' and family members' experience of mental health service provision and the development of psychosocial strategies that promote recovery and social inclusion. As an educator, Agnes has a sustained record for quality and innovative teaching and has led the development of a number of courses and modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She led the development of mental health nurses' education in Ireland from a hospital certificate to a recognised academic discipline and as an outcome of her research she has pioneered, at national and EU level, the development of online courses and learning resources in the area of recovery and mental health. Her contribution to teaching also includes the supervision of many PhD and masters students to successful completion. In addition to being a national and international leader in mental health nursing, research and education, she is considered a champion in the area of mental health service user/patient involvement. She has been involved in the development of a number of organisations that have given a critical voice to people who use the mental health services and is the current chairperson of the board of Mental Health Reform, Ireland's leading national patient coalition campaigning to transform mental health supports and services in Ireland. As a leader in the field, she has a sustained and distinguished record of publishing peer reviewed publications in the top quartile of impact factored journals in the field. To-date, she has published 75 papers in peer-reviewed, high-impact journals, 2 books, 13 book chapters, 34 reports for national bodies, 3 best practice guides for practitioners. Since joining the academic environment at Trinity, Agnes has held key academic leadership positions, including: Head of School (2011-2014), Head of Discipline Mental Health Nursing (2006-2011), Director of Postgraduate Programmes and Director of Academic and Professional Affairs (2000-2003) and Course Co-ordinator (2000-2003). She continues to contribute to the academic community through her involvement in a number of school, faculty and college committees within Trinity and her involvement as examiner, reviewer, editorial board member and member of national and international committees and organisations.
  Childhood and mental health   Clinical learning environment in nursing   Gender and Mental Health   Gender issues, gender studies   Mental health nursing   Mental health promotion   Nursing Education   Psychiatry   Sexuality and sexual health   Therapeutic relationships and communication
 EOLAS: A different kind of voice
 Being Me: Best practices for Care and Wellbeing Education toBest practices for Care and Wellbeing Vocational Education to support the needs of LGBT people as they age.
 Building Capacity for Collaborative Education between Service Users, Family Members and Practitioners within Mental Health Services
 Accessing help for suicidal behaviour in the Emergency Department
 Strenco - Strengthening multi-professional competencies in mental health in an international context, through co-production with academics, students, service users and professionals.

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Details Date
Member of the National Evaluation Advisory Group for Connecting for Life(National Suicide Strategy) 2017 ongoing
Chairperson of Board of Mental Health Reform. 2016 ongoing
National steering group for implementing and evaluating on recovery oriented services in Irish mental health services (HSE) 2016
HSE National Group with responsibility for developing a Service Model for people who identify asTransgender 2016
International Steering Group on Open Dialogue 2016 ongoing
Editorial Board for Grounded Theory Review (International Journal) 2012
Reviewer for: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing/Journal of Mental Health/International Journal of Mental Health Nursing/Journal of Advanced Nursing/Nurse Education in Practice/Nurse Education
Department of Health and Children's research committee, which developed the National Research Strategy for Nursing and Midwifery Research in Ireland. 2002
National Council for Education Awards Accreditation Committee for the Diploma in Nursing (psychiatric) in Waterford Institute of Technology 1997
National Council for Education Awards Accreditation Committee for the Diploma in Nursing (psychiatric) in Letterkenny Institute of Technology 1997
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Details Date From Date To
Executive member of Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing 2009 Present
Member of the International Grounded Theory Institute 2002 Present
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (Tutors Division) 1993 Present
Member of the International Philosophy of Nursing Society 2006 2012
Member and active participant of the Irish Hospice Foundation Research Committee 1998 2009
Supportive decision making in, Cooper D , Palliative care within mental health: ethical practice , New York and London, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2019, pp277 - 292, [Hynes G; Higgins A ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Sexuality and Intimacy in, editor(s)MacLeod R., van den Block , Textbook of Palliative Car, Cham , Springer, 2019, pp1 - 21, [Higgins A., Hynes G], Notes: [DOI ], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Murphy R, Keogh B, Higgins A, Erosion of Meaning in Life: African Asylum Seekers Experiences of Asylum in Ireland, Journal of Refugee Studies, 32, (2), 2019, p278 - 301, Notes: [ ], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Higgins A., Downes C., Daly L., Begley T., Sharek D. and De Vries J., Capacity building in sexual health promotion: a longitudinal evaluation of a training-the-trainer programme in Ireland, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
O'Connor P., Daly L. and Higgins A., Partners' experiences of living with a person with an eating disorder: A grounded theory study, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Higgins A, Downes C, Sheaf G, Bus E, Connell S, Hafford-Letchfield T, Jurček A, Pezzella A, Rabelink I, Robotham G, Urek M, van der Vaart N & Keogh B, Pedagogical principles and methods underpinning education of health and social care practitioners on experiences and needs of older LGBT+ people: findings from a systematic review, Nurse Education in Practice , 2019, Journal Article, IN_PRESS
de Vries JMA, Downes C, Sharek D, Doyle L, Murphy, R, Begley, T, McCann E, Sheerin F, Smyth S & Higgins A , An exploration of happiness within the Irish LGBTI community,, Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 0, (0), 2019, p40 , Notes: [ DOI: 10.1080/19359705.2019.1646689], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Higgins A, Hevey D, Downes C, Boyd F, Cusack N, Monahan M, Gibbons P, Family members' perspectives on the acceptability and impact of a co-facilitated information programme: the EOLAS mental health programme, Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 2019, Notes: [ doi:10.1017/ipm.2019.37], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Higgins A; Downes C, Hevey D, Boyd F, Cusack N, Monahan M, Gibbons P, Evaluation of a peer and clinician co-facilitated information and learning mental health programme for Service Users: the EOLAS Programme, Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine , 2019, Notes: [ DOI:], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Higgins A, Mental health a human right: harnessing individual and collective voices , Mental health is a human right: 44th International Mental Health Nursing Conference, Cairns, Australia, 24-26th October, 2018, Australian College of Mental Health Nursing, Notes: [ ], Invited Talk, PUBLISHED  URL

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Higgins A, Keogh B, Bus E, Connell S, Hafford-Letchfield T, Jurcek A, Pezzella A, Rabelink I, Robotham G, Urek M, and Van der Vaart N , 'Best practice principles on developing LGBT cultural competence in health and social care education', Being Me Project Team, 2019, - 1-7, Protocol or guideline, PUBLISHED
Keogh B, Brady AM, Downes C, Doyle L, Higgins A, McCann T, An Evaluation of the Role of the Traveller Mental Health Liaison Nurse in Carlow and Kilkenny, Dublin, Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, October, 2018, Report, PUBLISHED
Keogh B, Brady AM, Downes C, Doyle L, Higgins A, McCann T, An Evaluation of the Role of the Traveller Mental Health Liaison Nurse in Carlow and Kilkenny [Summary Report], Dublin, Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, October, 2018, Report, PUBLISHED
Higgins, A., Murphy, E., Sheaf, G., Doyle, L. & Keogh, B., Mental Health Service Users' Experiences of Coming off Medication: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Studies, Trinity College Dublin , 2018, Report, PUBLISHED
Sylvia Thompson, Gateway pioneers recovery-oriented approach to mental illness Peer-led project in Rathmines offers 'place to regain myself and get a sense of hope' , 2017, -, Notes: [Irish Times Health and Family 3rd January P12-13 ], Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
McDonald, C; Hallahan, B; Murphy K, Higgins, A, Murphy R , A prospective evaluation of the operation and effects of the Mental Health Act 2001 from the viewpoints of service users and health professionals, NUIG and Trinity College Dublin , 2017, p1 - 238, Report, PUBLISHED
Higgins A; Elliott N; Varley J; Tyrrell E; Downes C; Begley C; Normand C; Doherty C; Clarke M, An evaluation of the role of the Epilepsy Specialist Nurse and the impact on care: SENsE study, Dublin, Epilepsy Ireland, February, 2017, p1 - 299, Report, PUBLISHED
Higgins, A., Carroll, M., Downes, C., Monahan, M., Gill, A., Madden, D., McGoldrick, E. & Nagel, U. , Perinatal mental health: an exploration of practices, policies, processes and education needs of midwives and nurses within maternity and primary care services in Ireland, Dublin, Health Service Executive, 2017, p1 - 120, Report, PUBLISHED
Doyle, L., Keogh, B., Morrissey, J., Holme, I., Brennan, M. & Higgins, A. , Promoting Our Wellness and Recovery (POWER) Peer Prisoner Mentoring Evaluation Study., Trinity College Dublin, 2017, p1 - 100, Report, PUBLISHED
Monahan M, Holme I, Stacey G, Morrissey J, De Vries J, McKenna H, Nash M, Higgins A., Report of the Scoping Exercise on the Introduction of Graduate Entry Mental Health Nursing in Ireland, Dublin, DoH, 2017, Report, COMPLETED


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Award Date
Elected Fellow (Ad Eundem) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 2016
Elected to Trinty Fellowship 2014
Appointed as Visiting Professor University of Ulster 2014
Master in Arts jure officii (MA jo) Trinity College Dublin 2010
Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science 2009
Health Research Board Fellowship 2003
Provost Award for Teaching Excellence, Trinity College Dublin 2002
Scholarship Awards, University Examination, University College Dublin 1992
Scholarship Awards, University Examination, University College Dublin 1991