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Dr. Sadhbh Byrne
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Psychology


Dr. Sadhbh Byrne is Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the REFUGE-ED project, based at Trinity Centre for Global Health. REFUGE-ED is funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme, and seeks to identify, implement, and evaluate existing evidence-based practices that promote the inclusion, mental health, sense of belonging, and academic achievement of children and young people who are refugees, asylum seekers, or separated minors. Specifically, the project is interested in practices that can be implemented in (formal, non-formal and informal) educational settings. The project will involve co-design with children, families, teachers, practitioners, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders.

Sadhbh received a BA (Hons) in Psychology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Statistics from TCD. Prior to her current position, she worked with Associate Prof. Jo Robinson on the youth suicide prevention research team at Orygen/the Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia. At Orygen, Sadhbh primarily worked on the Multimodal Approach to Preventing Suicide in Schools (MAPSS) study. This large-scale project is ongoing, and involves educating approximately 4,000 students in secondary schools across north and west Melbourne about how to identify suicide risk in themselves and their friends, screening students to identify suicide risk, and delivering treatment to those young people identified as being at risk.

Sadhbh completed her PhD at TCD under the supervision of Assistant Prof. Lorraine Swords and Associate Prof. Elizabeth Nixon, supported by a competitive scholarship from the Irish Research Council. Her PhD research explored the role that parents and peers play in identifying early signs and symptoms of adolescent depression, and supporting young people in distress.

Her research interests centre on youth mental health and the role of individuals (family, peers) and institutions (schools, healthcare settings) in the microsystem within a young person's social ecology. She has a keen interest in participatory and co-design approaches to research.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

M.Isabela Troya, Matthew J. Spittal, Rosina Pendrous, Grace Crowley, Hayley C. Gorton, Kirsten Russell, Sadhbh Byrne, Rebecca Musgrove, Stephanie Hannam-Swain, Navneet Kapur, Duleeka Knipe, Suicide rates amongst individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds: A systematic review and meta-analysis, eClinical Medicine, 47, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI URL

Samuel McKay, Sadhbh J. Byrne, Alison Clarke, Michelle Lamblin, Maria Veresova, Jo Robinson, Parent Education for Responding to and Supporting Youth with Suicidal Thoughts (PERSYST): An Evaluation of an Online Gatekeeper Training Program with Australian Parents, International Journal of Environemental Research and Public Health, 19, (9), 2022 Journal Article, 2022 URL DOI

Sadhbh J. Byrne, India Bellairs-Walsh, Simon M. Rice, Sarah Bendall, Michelle Lamblin, Emily Boubis, Brianna McGregor, Meghan O'Keefe, and Jo Robinson, A qualitative account of young people's experiences seeking care from emergency departments for self-harm, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 URL TARA - Full Text DOI

Bellairs-Walsh, I., Byrne, S.J., Bendall, S., Perry, Y., Krysinska, K., Lin, A., Michail, M., Lamblin, M., Yutong Li, T., Hetrick, S., Robinson, J., Working with young people at risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm: A qualitative study of Australian general practitioners' perspectives, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, (24), 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

India Bellairs-Walsh, Yael Perry, Karolina Krysinska, Sadhbh J. Byrne, Alexandra Boland, Maria Michail, Michelle Lamblin, Kerry L. Gibson, Ashleigh Lin, Tina Yutong Li, Sarah Hetrick, and Jo Robinson, Best practice when working with suicidal behaviour and self-harm in primary care: a qualitative exploration of young people"s perspectives, BMJ Open, 10, (10), 2020, pe038855 Journal Article, 2020

Karolina Krysinska, Sophie Curtis, Michelle Lamblin, Nina Stefanac, Kerry Gibson, Sadhbh Byrne, Pinar Thorn, Simon M Rice, Alison McRoberts, Anne Ferrey, Yael Perry, Ashleigh Lin, Sarah Hetrick, Keith Hawton, Jo Robinson, Parents' Experience and Psychoeducation Needs When Supporting a Young Person Who Self-Harms, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, (10), 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Jennifer McMahon, Fenella Ryan, Mary Cannon, Gillian O'Brien, Madge O'Callaghan, Ross Flanagan, Karen O'Connor, Derek Chambers, Sadhbh Byrne, Patrick McGorry, Where next for youth mental health services in Ireland?, Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 36, (3), 2019, p163 - 167 Journal Article, 2019 DOI

Byrne, S., Swords, L. & Nixon, E., Mental Health Literacy and Help-Giving Responses in Irish Adolescents, Journal of Adolescent Research, 30, (4), 2015, p477 - 500 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Youth suicide: Prevalence, predictors and prevention in, editor(s)Alison R. Yung, Jack Cotter, Patrick D. McGorry , Youth Mental Health: Approaches to Emerging Mental Ill-Health in Young People, Routledge, 2020, pp195 - 223, [Jo Robinson, Georgina Cox, Sarah Hetrick, Sadhbh Byrne] Book Chapter, 2020 URL

Research Expertise


My research interests centre on child and youth mental health, particularly the role of parents, peers, and other caregivers, as well as schools as sites of intervention.


  • Title
    • REFUGE-ED: Effective practices in education, mental health and psychosocial support for the integration of refugee children
  • Summary
    • REFUGE-ED brings together a consortium of nine partners (ranging from other research institutions to NGOs) from seven European countries to develop a platform which will host and promote effective practices for the inclusion of migrant and refugee children in schools and more broadly in society. REFUGE-ED will first identify existing evidence-based practices in education and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) that have demonstrated effectiveness in increasing academic performance, wellbeing, and/or sense of belonging for children who are asylum seekers or refugees. This review will result in a 'menu' of effective practices and interventions. 'Pilot settings' will be identified across Europe, which could include: hotspots/reception identification centres, inclusive school environments, non-formal and informal social and learning environments, and institutional care across Europe. A co-creation process will be implemented with stakeholders at each pilot setting (i.e., children, families, teachers, practitioners working on the ground, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders). The goal of this process will be to identify stakeholders' needs and priorities, jointlyselect an intervention from the 'menu' that best meets these needs, and adapt this intervention such that it is better suited to each pilot setting's context and culture. The selected interventions (or 'pilot actions') will then be implemented at each site. There will be at least 46 pilot actions taking place across six countries (Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Bulgaria.) Monitoring and evaluation results will be fed back to children and other stakeholders in a user-friendly, inclusive, and accessible manner. Their feedback will then be used to identify further modifications that could be made to the selected intervention to better address the needs identified for their setting. A community of practice and learning will be established to foster communication and knowledge-sharing across all 46 pilot settings. Drawing together the knowledge generated through each pilot site, REFUGE-ED will create a novel, community-based platform, which will provide evidence-based, high-quality resources and tools tailored to the needs of specific groups involved in the inclusion of refugee children in education. Among other resources, the final co-created platform will provide freely-available tools, solutions and recommendations, including guidelines and criteria on capacity building training, solution adaptation and community engagement. This easy-to-use off-line platform will support the implementation, reuse, and scalability of the piloted actions, and of other practices identified as successful. REFUGE-ED prioritises the use of participatory approaches, whereby children and their stakeholders (parents, teachers, caretakers, social workers) are continuously involved in the project, as opposed to having any intervention conducted unto them.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission
  • Date From
    • 2021
  • Title
    • Development and evaluation of a novel Continuing Medical Education (CME) tool designed to equip GPs in Ireland to manage adolescent mental health presentations.
  • Summary
    • The first My World Survey concluded that "the number one health issue for [Irish] young people is their mental health". Worryingly, the follow-up study, My World Survey 2, has highlighted that there has since been a notable increase in anxiety and depression among young people in Ireland. In addition, there is great concern that the social control measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to have ongoing mental health impacts on our adolescent population, resulting in long lasting effects even post pandemic. Adolescent mental health is therefore a critical public health concern. Given that GPs are often the first point of contact for adolescent mental health presentations, they are a critical point in the care pathway, playing a key role in diagnosis, support, and management for these patients. However, many GPs do not feel equipped to deal effectively and confidently with adolescents presenting with mental health issues. Previous work has shown that GP satisfaction rates are low in Ireland with regards to postgraduate training received in child and adolescent mental health. Training that focuses on mental health and in working with adolescent populations would be beneficial for GPs and patients. In line with best practice in patient and public involvement (PPI), the development of this training should include consultations with young people themselves. Young people have the right to exert their competence and express their views on matters that affect them. As empowerment and user involvement are important tenets of contemporary health care, young people's experiences and perspectives must play a central role in shaping best practice. It is also important to include parents' perspectives in developing any education for GPs, as the presentation of an adolescent to a GP for mental health concerns is typically facilitated by a parent. Parents are also well-placed to monitor risk, encourage alternative coping strategies, provide emotional support, and facilitate engagement with mental health services. Parents thus bear significant influence on a young person's illness trajectory, and are an integral part of a young person's wider system of care. For this reason, it is critical that parents are engaged in any efforts to improve care for adolescents' mental health. Taken together, this evidence highlights the need to develop suitable training for GPs to facilitate them to effectively manage adolescents presenting with mental health concerns. The evidence further suggests that young people and parents should directly contribute to the development of this training.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Council of General Practice
  • Date From
    • 01/10/2021


ADOLESCENCE; Adolescent Self-Harm; Child and Adolescent Mental Health; child well-being; Child wellbeing; CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE; Self-harm; SUICIDE; Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour; Suicide Prevention Research; Young People and Suicide; Youth mental health


Awards and Honours

Postdoctoral Publication of the Year Award - Highly Commended, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin 04/11/2021

Early Career Research Bursary, International Association for Suicide Prevention World Congress 2021

Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship, Irish Research Council 2014

Úna Burke Memorial Prize for best final year thesis in child psychology 2013


International Association for Youth Mental Health

Society for Mental Health Research

Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Children's Research Network (Special Interest Group in Child and Youth Participation; Special Interest Group in Child and Youth Migration)

Emerging Minds Special Interest Research Group on Youth Mental Health and Racism

Emerging Minds Special Interest Research Group in Parent Support & Wellbeing