Meet the Mental Health Reform Team
Dr. Shari McDaid
Dr. Shari McDaid was appointed Director of Mental Health Reform, the national coalition advocating for reform of the mental health system, in October 2013. She has been a member of the Healthy Ireland Council, the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health, the Disability Stakeholders Group and is currently on the Oversight Group for the review of A Vision for Change. Shari joined Mental Health Reform as Policy Officer in 2011. Prior to that, Shari worked with Amnesty International Ireland from 2008 to 2011 as Policy Officer on its mental health campaign. She was previously Policy Officer at the National Disability Authority and Policy and Administration Manager at Shine. Shari received her PhD in 2008 from the Equality Studies Centre at UCD, with a thesis entitled 'Power, Empowerment and User Involvement in the Public Mental Health Services in Ireland'. Shari co-edited with Prof. Agnes Higgins the text 'Mental Health in Ireland: Policy, practice and law', published in 2014 by Gill and Macmillan.
Administrative & Information Assistant
Danea Brown joined Mental Health Reform as Administrative and Information Assistant in June 2018. Before that, Danea worked in an administrative capacity in a mental health organisation providing advocacy to service users. Danea completed a BA in History and Political Science from Trinity in 2015 and has since had administrative roles in both the public and private sector. While still in college, Danea spent two summers working in America with adults with special needs, a lot of whom also suffered from mental health difficulties, and this is where her interest in working within mental health services began.
Senior Policy & Research Officer
Kate Mitchell joined Mental Health Reform as Policy and Research Officer in September 2014. Before that Kate worked in the area of local development in north east Dublin and coordinated youth leadership and health promotion programmes, including mental health, cross border regeneration and relationship building. She spent 18 months facilitating the Ombudsman for Children’s Human Rights Education Programme. During this time, Kate was also contracted to work for Headstrong National Centre for Youth Mental Health on the development of Jigsaw sites in Tallaght and Clondalkin. Kate has spent time volunteering with Women’s Aid, the Separated Children’s Education Centre and Unicef Ireland.
Dr. Pádraig Ó Féich
Dr. Pádraig Ó Féich joined the Mental Health Reform team in June 2018. Before that, Pádraig completed a year-long post-doc working with University College Dublin and the Childhood Development Initiative on a housing policy paper. An experienced mixed-methods researcher and former UCD scholar, he was awarded a PhD by the School of Psychology in UCD in 2016, with a thesis entitled ‘A Study of Divergent Social Identities: The Case of Liberal-Catholics’. He has a history of research in the community sector, is currently a volunteer director of an inner-city community organisation, and has a strong interest in advocacy-based research.
Senior Communications & Advocacy Officer
Ray Burke joined Mental Health Reform as Communications and Campaigns Officer in February 2015. Before this he worked as a Policy Assistant with the Disability Federation of Ireland. Ray spent 4 years working in community development in South West Inner City Dublin, leading a number of training and development programmes in areas like literacy, numeracy and ICT use. Ray has also worked as an independent researcher with various community development organisations. Ray holds a B.Soc.Sc in Anthropology and Social Policy and an M.Soc.Sc in Rights and Social Policy from NUI Maynooth. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Project Officer (e-Mental Health)
Dominika Topolska joined Mental Health Reform in November 2016 as e-Mental Health Project Executive. The e-MEN project, in partnership with 5 other EU countries, aims to develop an EU-wide platform for e-mental health innovation and implementation. Prior to joining MHR Dominika has worked for 2into3, Forum Polonia, Dublin Employment Pact & New Communities Partnership (EU Integration Fund Project) , Crosscare Migrant Project, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI). Dominika has a MA in Intercultural Studies from the Jagiellonian University.
Digital Communications & Development Officer
Ross Flanagan joined the Mental Health Reform in July 2018 as the Digital Communications & Development Officer. Having completed a BSc. in Psychology and studies in counselling, Ross has worked in many areas including homelessness and homelessness prevention, human rights, diversity and equality, and specialist palliative care. As a long standing advocate for mental health and diversity, Ross holds voluntary roles with the International Association for Youth Mental Health, St. Patrick's Mental Health Services, the Special Interest Group for the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and the National LGBT Federation. Pronouns: he/ him.