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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
 Evaluation of the EOLAS online information and support programme fro people experiencing mental health issues and their families
 development of a perinatal educational resource for practitioners
 Effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of healthcare workers - a national survey (The COWORKER Study)
 Feasibility and acceptability of an online 'real time' delivery of the service user and family education programmes: a proof of concept pilot study [EOLAS-OL study] €

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Details Date
Examination. Jason Hickey. A grounded theory of recovery among people with mental illness in Qatar. Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) University of Manchester 2018
Board Member of Kyrie Farm mental health project 2021
Chairperson of Board of Mental Health Reform. (National Coalition) 2016 ongoing
Member of the National Evaluation Advisory Group for Connecting for Life(National Suicide Strategy) 2017 ongoing
National HSE Group for developing standards for mental health recovery education in Ireland 2019-2020
Expert panel member of Horatio (Representative Organisation for Mental Health Nurses in Europe) 2016-ongoing
Committee member of European Network Training, Education and Research Mental Health 2013- ongoing
National steering group for implementing policy recommendations from Mental Health Nurses in Ireland report (HSE) 2017 -2020
National steering group for implementing and evaluating on recovery oriented services in Irish mental health services (HSE) 2016-2018
Cyprus University of Technology, External Reviewer for Promotion 2019
Founding member, inaugural Chairperson of the Executive of the Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing and current executive member 2009
International Steering Group on Open Dialogue in Mental Health 2016 ongoing
HSE National Group with responsibility for developing a Service Model for people who identify asTransgender 2016-2018
Editorial Board for Grounded Theory Review (International Journal) 2020 and ongoing
External Examiner MSc Mental Health Interventions Middlesex University, London 2009-2012
Reviewer for: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing/Journal of Mental Health/International Journal of Mental Health Nursing/Journal of Advanced Nursing/Journal of Clinical Nursing/Nurse Education in Practice/Nurse Education Today/The Grounded Theory Review/International Journal of Nursing Studies/ Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology/BMC Health Services Research/BMC Psychiatry/BMC research/BMC/Midwifery/Irish Journal of Psychological medicine/Epilepsy and Behaviour/International Journal of Qualitative Studies 2003
External Examiner BSc in Nursing, University of Limerick 2007-2008
Department of Health and Children's research committee, which developed the National Research Strategy for Nursing and Midwifery Research in Ireland. 2001
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
External Examiner Diploma in Nursing (Psychiatry), Trinity College Dublin. 1997-2000
External Examiner BSc in Nursing, Waterford Institute of Technology 2004-2008
External Examiner Higher Diploma in Mental Health Nursing Dublin City University 2008-2010
External examiner for PhD Transfer/continuation School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Dublin 2008/2012
External Member of Review Panel for School of Health Science, Nottingham University 2010
Faculty of Nursing at Al-Ahliyya Amman University Jordan, External Reviewer for promotion 2019
External Reviewer for promotion, University College Cork, Dublin City University, University College Cork 2010-15
Visiting Professor University of Ulster 2014-2018
National Steering Group for Implementing strategy for mental health nursing in Ireland 2018 and ongoing
Steering group member of Trinity Centre of Practice and Health care Innovation 2018 and ongoing
Steering group member of Trinity Centre for Maternity Care Research 2018 and ongoing
LGBTIreland - Embedding LGBT Champions Programme into the Irish healthcare / social care services /systems for older people. 2020 and ongoing
Research steering groups HEA Innovation and Transformation Project: Student Support Services' Retention and Engagement 2019 and ongoing
Research steering group TCD Public, Patient Involvement (PPI) in Research 2017-2020
Research steering HSE PRIMERA research implementing child centred intervention 2016-2018
Research steering group HSE IMROc project: Implementation of Recovery into practice 2013-2016
Reseach steering group The development and evaluation of a pilot training programme for health and social care professional providing palliative and oncology care to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people. Funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation, The Irish Cancer Society and Health Service Executive 2010-2011
Research steering Nurse Prescribing: Issues for Palliative Care Nurses working in a community setting. Funded by the Irish Association for Palliative care and the Department of Health. 2002-2203
Research steering group Role and Function of the Psychiatric Nurse. Funded by the Department of Health 1996-1997
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
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
Brady C, Fenton C Loughran O, Higgins A, McLoughlin D, Dublin hospital workers mental health during the peak of Ireland's Covid-19 pandemic , Irish Journal of Medical Science, 2021, Journal Article, SUBMITTED
Brady C, Fenton C Loughran O, Higgins A, McLoughlin D, Nursing home staff mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2021, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
O Malley D, Smith V, Higgins A, Sexual health issues postpartum: A mixed methods study of women's help-seeking behaviour after the birth of their first baby, Journal of Midwifery , 2021, Journal Article, IN_PRESS
Kenny M, Duffy K, Hynes G, Fortune G, Smith O, Hilliard C, O'Rourke M, Higgins A , 'It can be difficult to find the right words': Parents' needs when breaking news and communicating to children with cancer and their siblings, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 39, (4), 2021, p571 - 585, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
O'Malley D, Higgins A, Smith V, Exploring the Complexities of Postpartum Sexual Health, Current Sexual Health Reports , 2021, p1 - 8, Notes: [], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Barry, J; Monahan, C; Ferguson, S; Lee, K; Kelly, R; Monahan, M; Murphy, R; Gibbons, P; Higgins, A, I came, I saw, I conquered': Reflections on Participating in a PhotoVoice Project, Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice , 2021, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Atkinson J, Smith V, Carroll M, Sheaf G ,Higgins A, Perspectives of partners of mothers who experience mental distress in the postnatal period: A systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis, Midwifery, 93, 2021, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Barry, J. Monahan, C. Monahan, M. Murphy, R. Ferguson, S. Lee, K. Bennet, A. Gibbons, P. Higgins, A., 'The Road We Travel': Developing a co-produced narrative for a photovoice project, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 28, (4), 2021, p622 - 631, Notes: [doi: 10.1111/jpm.12709], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
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, 36, (1), 2021, p46 - 67, Notes: [DOI: 10.1080/14681994.2019.1566604], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Murphy R, Keogh B, Higgins A , An embodied distress: African asylum seekers' experiences of mental distress while awaiting an asylum outcome in Ireland, Transcultural Psychiatry , 58, (2), 2021, p239 - 253, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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Higgins A, Co-production in mental health research: ideology versus reality , Sjonaukinn 2021, School of Health Sciences University of Akureyri, Iceland , 20th May 2021, 2021, University of Akureyri, Iceland , Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Kenny M, Duffy K, Hilliard C, O'Rourke M, Fortune G, Smith O, Hynes G, Higgins A , 'It can be difficult to find the right words': Parents' needs when breaking news and communicating to children with cancer and their siblings, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 2021, Journal Article, IN_PRESS
Higgins A, Barry J, Monahan M, Monahan C, Murphy R, 'EOLAS the Road we travelled. Photographic exhibition featuring the work of service users and family members ', Recovery College, Dundalk Institute of Technology, 2020, -, Exhibition, PUBLISHED
Higgins A, Barry J, Monahan M, Monahan C, Murphy R, 'EOLAS the Road we travelled. Photographic exhibition featuring the work of service users and family members ', McAuley Place Naas, Co Kildare, 2020, -, Exhibition, PUBLISHED
Higgins A, Nature of perinatal Anxiety - The MAMMI Study, 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Higgins A, Seeking help for perinatal anxiety- Video 2 - The MAMMI Study, 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Higgins A, Developing a perinatal mental wellness plan - Video 3 The MAMMI Study, 2020, -, Miscellaneous, PUBLISHED
Doyle, L; Keogh, B, Morrissey J, Higgins A, Downes C , Accessing Help for Self-Harm and Suicidal Behaviour in the Emergency Department: The Experiences of Service Users, Dublin , Trinity College , 2020, p1 - 75, Report, PUBLISHED
Higgins A, 'The EOLAS Participatory Photographic project: the road we travelled ', 2020, -, Visual art production, PUBLISHED
Higgins A, Barry J, Monahan M, Monahan C, Murphy R, 'EOLAS the Road we travelled. Photographic exhibition featuring the work of service users and family members ', Venue Atrium, Trinity College Dublin, 2019, -, Exhibition, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Elected Fellow (Ad Eundem) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 2016
Elected to Trinty Fellowship 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