Dr Michelle O Reilly

Associate Professor of Communication in Mental Health and Chartered Psychologist in Health

School/Department: Media, Communication and Sociology, School of / Psychology and Vision Science, School of



Michelle O’Reilly is an Associate Professor of Mental Health Communication at the University of Leicester and a Research Consultant and Quality Improvement Advisor for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. She joined both organisations in 2003. Michelle is also a Chartered Psychologist in Health. Michelle has a specific interest in child and adolescent mental health. Recently she has been investigating the relationship between mental health and social media as part of that work. Michelle has made several media contributions about the research with adolescents educationalists and parents as funded by the Wellcome Trust. Additional to her research interests in mental health and social media Michelle also undertakes research in self-harm and suicidal behaviour neurodevelopmental conditions and child mental health services such as mental health assessments and family therapy. Michelle recently won the Anselm Strauss Award for Qualitative Family Research for her co-authored contribution on discursive psychology in this area. Michelle has expertise in qualitative methodologies and specialises in discursive psychology and conversation analysis.


DECODE: data-driven machine learning aided stratification and management of multiple ong-term conditions in adults with intellectual disabilities: NIHR (2022) £2,819,296.00. Thomas Jun, Sateesh Gangadharan, Michelle O'Reilly et al. 

Wellcome Midlands Mental Health and Neurosciences Doctoral Training Centre for Healthcare professionals. Wellcome Trust (2022) £7,247,676.00 (ref: 223508/Z/21/Z). Roshan Das Nair, Dorothee Auer, Joseph Manning, Terry Brugha, Noelle Robertson, Michelle O'Reilly et al.

Empowering pre-teens online through a digital ethics of care. ESRC (eNurture network funding) (2021) £17659.48 (22074.35 FEC). Michelle O’Reilly Diane Levine and Sarah Adams

The LOSST LIFFE* collaboration: Addressing inequalities at the intersection between law enforcement mental health and suicide prevention in pandemic and post-pandemic times. Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund & LIAS (2020) £23874.72. Ref: 204801/z/16/z. Michelle O’Reilly Barney Thorne Tammy Ayres Ruth Hatcher Dylan Kerrigan Sarah Adams Mohammed Abbas (LPT) Nikki Kiyimba (NZ) and Chris Millard (Sheffield)

Co-constructing Inequalities and Improving Wellbeing Post-Pandemic: Children’s Vision in five Major World Countries. GCRF (Research England) & LIAS (2020) £28075.00. Panos Vostanis Michelle O’Reilly Clare Anderson Caroline Upton Effie Law Kelly Staples Grace Sykes Harry Dixon Sadiyya Haffejee

Adolescent Vaping 'Careers': A Qualitative Study of the Usage Trajectories of 16-18-Year-Old E-Cigarette Users in England. CRUK (2017) £86754.08 (FEC- £265570.17). Jason Hughes Michelle O’Reilly Khalid Karim Kahryn Hughes and John Goodwin


Suhomlinova, O., Ayres, T., Tonkin, M., O'Reilly, M., Wertans, E., and O'Shea, S. (in press). Locked up while locked down: Prisoner's experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. British Journal of Criminology

Hughes, J., Sykes, G., Hughes, K., O'Reilly, M., Goodwin, J., Sutton, C., and Karim, K. (in press). From gateways to multilinear connections: A qualitative longitudinal investigation of the relationships between vaping and smoking among adolescent users. International Journal of Drug Policy

Vostanis, P., Eruyar, S., Haffejee, S., and O'Reilly, M. (in press).  How Child Mental Health Training is Conceptualized by Stakeholders in four Low- and Middle-income Countries. Journal of Child Care and Education Policy

Thorne, B., and O'Reilly, M. (in press). Operationalizing strategic objectives of suicide prevention policy: Police-led LOSST LIFFE model. Death Studies

O'Reilly, M., Lester, J., Kiyimba, N., and Edwards, D. (2021). Establishing Quality in Discursive Psychology: Three Domains to Consider [Special Issue]. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 18(3), 406-425

O'Reilly, M., and Kiyimba, K. (2021). Responsibility inoculation: Constructing 'good parent' accounts when accessing child mental health services. Human Systems: Therapy, Culture & Attachment, 1(1), 52-69

Tseliou, E., Burck, C., Forbat, E., Strong, T., and O'Reilly, M., (2021). The Discursive Performance of Change Process in Systemic and Constructionist Therapies: A Systematic Meta-Synthesis Review of In-Session Therapy Discourse. Family Process, 60, 42-63

O'Reilly, M., Levine, D., and Law, E. (2021). Digital Ethics of Care philosophy to understand adolescents' sense of responsibility on social media. Pastoral Care in Education, 39(2), 91-107

O'Reilly, M., Kiyimba, N., and Drewett, A (2020). Mixing qualitative methods versus methodologies: A critical reflection on communication and power in inpatient care. [Special Issue] Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 21, 66-76

Bromley, D., Sampson, L., Brettle-West, J., and O'Reilly, M. (2020). Hearing the voices of looked after children: Considering the challenges of obtaining feedback on healthcare services. Journal of Child Health Care, 24(4), 502-514.


My research interests are broadly in the areas of

child mental health

psychiatric research

Suicide prevention and self-harm

Neurodevelopmental conditions

family therapy

qualitative methods

I have published many papers and books in this area. I have also undertaken numerous research projects exploring a range of mental disorders including autism (ASD) ADHD and self-harm as well as a range of therapeutic interventions such as family therapy and child psychiatry.


Undergraduate teaching

UG dissertation

Sociology of health and Illness

I also contribute sessions to a range of other undergraduate modules.

Postgraduate teaching

Programme convenor DL PhD

Distance Learning PhD module 1

Distance Learning PhD module 2

Distance Learning PhD module 4

Doctoral training programme year 1

Applied and practice based research tutorials (For PhD students)

Supervision of PhD theses

Supervision of MSc theses 

Press and media

Digital media and child and adolescent mental health


Suicide prevention 


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy: 33934 (2008) - Upgraded to Senior Fellow (2018) - PR145379

Q member of the Health Foundation - Quality Improvement in the NHS

Chartered Health Psychologist [CPsychol] (BPS)

International Society for Conversation analysis (ISCA)

Association of Family Therapy (AFT)

Associate of the Taos Institute

Member of the NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands

Member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA)

Member of the National Police Autism Association (NPAA)

I am the Deputy Chair of the Ethics and Integrity University Committee (commenced October 2016)

I am the Chair of the Research Integrity Working Group (Commenced November 2018)

I am a member of the equality and diversity working group (Commenced June 2020).

I am the Co-Director for the Leicester Centre for Mental Health Research (Commenced October 2018)

I am a member of the Sensitive Extreme and Radical Material Working Group (Commenced July 2021)

I am a steering group member of the BME Centre at the University of Leicester (Commended July 2018). 


Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust award from the annual competition in 2018 for paper:

Majumder P. O’Reilly M. Karim K. and Vostanis P. (2015). “This doctor I not trust him I’m not safe”: The perceptions of mental health and services by unaccompanied refugee adolescents. International Journal of Social Psychiatry 61(2) 129-136

Qualitative Family Research Network (QFRN) - a Focus Group of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). The award recognizes significant work in the area of family theory methods and research that comes from a qualitative tradition. The award is named for Anselm Strauss whose life's work was to develop and practice qualitative methodologies. The specific criteria for the award are described below: Won the 2019 Anselm Strauss Award for Qualitative Family Research for your article:

O'Reilly M. Kiyimba N. & Lester J. (2018). Discursive psychology as a method of analysis for the study of couple and family therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 44(3) 409-425. 


O’Reilly M. (2021). [invited talk]. Doing qualitative research in sensitive topics: Practical issues in using thematic analysis and conversation analysis. Medical Sociology & Health Experiences Research Group: Oxford University.

O’Reilly M. and Drewett A. (2020) [keynote] Autism self-harm and suicidal thinking. Autism Learns - conference for parents and frontline professionals. December. Online. O’Reilly M. (2020). [Keynote]. Social media and child and adolescent mental health: Conceptualising a digital ethics of care. West Midlands CPD Educational Psychology Conference

O’Reilly M. (2020). [Keynote]. Working toward a digital ethics of care: Adolescent views of social media and mental health. Mindful of AI: Language Technology and Mental Health University of Cambridge

O’Reilly M. (2020). [Keynote]. Suicide first responders’ experiences. Working Together to Prevent Suicide Leicester multi-agency conference.

Media coverage

O’Reilly M. (2021). Social Media and Mental Health: Conceptualising a Digital Ethics of Care. Outreach at 020 Amsterdam.

O’Reilly M. (April 2021). Doom-scrolling and you by Ollie Monk. Leicester student magazine.

O’Reilly M. (March 2021). Expert insights: How might abuse and neglect affect mental health? NSPCC learning series.

O’Reilly M. (March 2021). Expert insights: How might we support children and young people? NSPCC learning series.

O’Reilly M. (March 2021). Expert insights: When mental health becomes a safeguarding concern? NSPCC learning series.

O’Reilly M. (7th October 2020). Negative news and mental health. Voice of Islam Radio Morning Breakfast show

O’Reilly M. (14th August 2019). Comment on social media and mental health for a New Scientist article:

O’Reilly M. (recorded 2nd May 2019) Boom Radio Scotland interview: Social media and adolescent mental health. Interview with Ashir Ayaz (Edinburgh College)

O’Reilly M. (April 24th 2019) - Expert guest speaker for TRTWorld - Turkish News channel - live discussion on social media and child/adolescent mental health


BSc (hons) psychology

MSc Social psychology (Distinction)

MA Research ethics in health



Cert Management


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