Research

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Research Summary

Dr. Sharon McDonnell is the Director of Suicide Bereavement UK and specialises in suicide bereavement research. She currently has an honorary contract with the Centre for Mental Health and Safety, based at the University of Manchester.  All research projects conducted by Suicide Bereavement UK are led by Dr. Sharon McDonnell who has specialised in this field for 16 years.

Sharon was employed by the Centre for Mental Health and Safety, at the University of Manchester from October 1999 - March 2016.  The majority of her research has been funded by government bodies, for example The Department of Health, The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).

Sharon has considerable experience of working with diverse populations on various research projects, whilst employed by the University of Manchester, ranging from 

  • Developing evidence based suicide bereavement training;
  • Identifying the perceived experiences and needs of parents bereaved by suicide;
  • Developing a pilot electronic multi-agency information sharing system for mentally disordered offenders;
  • Evaluating the first phase of the integrated drug treatment system in English prisons; and
  • The national sudden unexplained death study of psychiatric in-patients aged under 45 years.

Membership of Committees and Professional Bodies    

  • Member of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) Specialist Interest Group (SIG) which focuses on postvention;
  • Member of the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP);
  • Member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA);
  • Member of the All Party Parliamentary Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Group; and
  • Winston Churchill Fellow (2013).

Methodological knowledge

  • Qualitative methods specifically, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Framework Analysis and Thematic Analysis;
  • Mixed/multi methods research;
  • Online surveys;
  • Translating research findings into evidence-based training; and
  • Service-user involvement in all aspects of research.

Research interests

  • All aspects of suicide bereavement across the lifespan;
  • Suicide prevention;
  • Translating suicide bereavement research into evidence-based training;
  • The development of postvention services;
  • Online memorialisation;
  • Suicide clusters and contagion;
  • Traumatic loss; and
  • Offender mental health, specifically suicide prevention.

Qualifications

  • 2006   PhD,  entitled ‘Identifying the Experiences of Parents Bereaved by Suicide or Undetermined Death': University of Manchester.
  • 1998   BSc  1st class Hons in Psychology. University of Bolton.

 


 

Collaborators and affiliated Staff    

Professor Jenny Shaw, Professor of Forensic Psychiatry, University of Manchester.
Professor Nav Kapur, Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health, University of Manchester.
Dr. Isabelle Hunt, Research Fellow, The National Confidential Inquiry for Suicide and Homicide, The University of Manchester.
Dr. Sandra Flynn, Research Fellow, The National Confidential Inquiry for Suicide and Homicide, The University of Manchester.
Dr. Jane Senior, Offender Health Research Network, University of Manchester.
Dr. Charlotte Lennox, Offender Health Network, University of Manchester.
Dr. Lis Cordingley, Senior lecturer in Health Psychology, University of Manchester. 
Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham, Professor of General Practice Research, University of Keele.
Dr. Wendy Moncur, Reader in Socio-Digital Interaction, University of Dundee.
Dr. Nicola O’Leary, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Hull.
Dr. Alexandra Pitman, Honorary Research Associate, Division of Psychiatry, University College London.
Dr. Jo Bell, Senior lecturer, School of Social Sciences, University of Hull.

PhD students

Co-supervising Verity Wainwright, thesis entitled ‘The Pathways to Offending and Mental Health Needs of Ex-Armed Forces Personnel in Prison: a Mixed Methods Study’.
 

Research Projects