Meet the Mental Health Reform Team - Mental Health Reform

Dr Shari McDaid, Director
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 is the Chairperson of the Children’s Mental Health Coalition and a member of the Healthy Ireland Council. In July 2016 she was appointed to the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health by the Minister with responsibility for mental health Minister Helen McEntee. 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. Email:


Kate Mitchell, Senior Policy and 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. Email:



Ray Burke, Communications and Campaigns Officer
Ray Burke joined Mental Health Reform in February 2016. Before this he worked as a Policy Assistant with the Disability Federation of Ireland on a project aiming to foster better connections between local groups for people with disabilities. Ray spent 4 years working in community development in south west inner city Dublin, leading a number of training and development programmes in the areas of literacy, numeracy and ICT use. Ray has also worked as a research assistant on a number of Needs Analysis projects in inner city Dublin. Email:





Dominika Topolska, e-Mental Health Project Executive
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. Email:




Oscar James, Research Assistant
Oscar James joined the team in 2017 as a research assistant to work on the national consultation. He has worked on numerous projects prior to joining Mental Health Reform, most notably Growing Up in Ireland in the ESRI, the MARIO project in NUI Galway, and the Life History and Social Change project in the IQDA. Oscar loves statistics, and his research interests include mental health, prejudice and stigma, cognitive bias, authoritarianism, religious extremism, sex education, social inequality, poverty, and health care provision. Oscar has a Masters in Applied Social Research from Trinity College Dublin. Email: