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IMHS comprises strong research excellence in each of the areas as described below. We undertake research on the myriad of biological, psychological and social factors that influence our mental health.

We examine the impact of our DNA, we study childhood experiences, and we explore the impact of interventions such as physical activity or counselling, on mental health. We study mental health, illness, and the effects of interventions, from “gene to gym”. We will apply our research to create positive change, to promote recovery and to understand and prevent suicide.

The key areas reflect our current strengths, but they are by no means fully representative of all of the range of outstanding mental health research at Ulster University.

The ethos of the IMHS is to build upon and grow existing areas, whilst also providing a vehicle by which new areas of research can be explored and supported to reach their full potential. Paramount to this is our investment in capacity building and the training of existing researchers and future generations of mental health research leaders. This research excellence will be maintained and strengthened by our ongoing commitment to multidisciplinary collaboration to produce game changing research with the service user and the public at the fore.

In this section

Epigenetic profiling of young adults with depression

Mental health in the student population is of particular concern, with over 25% meeting clinical criteria.

Public Understanding of Coercive Control in Northern Ireland

Coercive control has been cited as among one of the worst types of abuse to experience within an intimate relationship.

The Care Pathways and Outcomes Study

Providing care for children who cannot be cared for by their birth parents, either through their actions or inactions, is a major challenge for societies at a global level, and raises significant issues within the UK context.


Ageing is associated with an increased risk of frailty, disability and adverse health outcomes.

Exploring the social environment, group dynamics, and social support for the mental health and well-being amongst sport officials

The recent awareness and subsequent action points around mental health and well being amongst athletes in sport has increased research attention and interventions focusing on athletes.

Talent Identification or Elimination: the prevalence of the Relative Age Effect in Gaelic Games and Association Football on the Island of Ireland: A longitudinal Study

During the developmental years of an athletes, participants may be deselected as they progress through the ranks due to a number of factors.


We are focusing on the study of mental illness and well-being in special occupational groups with high rates of trauma exposure.

Mental Health in Later-life and Cognitive Decline

Examining ways in which the care of older people can be managed and carers can be supported.

Suicidal Behaviour

We are working with policy makers and health care providers who look after individuals in crisis.

Care and Recovery

Our researchers have conducted outstanding studies of service users’ perceptions of care and recovery.

Mental Illness

Our work in the Psychology Research Institute has influenced the classification systems used for psychiatric diagnosis worldwide.

Resilience and Well-being in the Young

We have a number of research studies on the impact of adverse childhood experiences on mental health outcomes.

Big Data and Population Sciences

Using novel analytic methods such as machine learning to better understand behaviour and service use.