MIC student awarded Government of Ireland Scholarship for mental health promotion

MIC student awarded Government of Ireland Scholarship for mental health promotion

Mary Immaculate College, PhD research student Mary Anne Lowney pictured here (centre) with Dr. Angela Canny, Assistant Dean of Education (L) and Prof. Jim Deegan, Head of Graduate School, MIC (R).

A student from Mary Immaculate College has been awarded the Prestigious Government of Ireland Scholarship to undertake research in the area of mental health promotion in schools.

Mary Immaculate College (MIC) is delighted to announce that Maryanne Lowney, from Ennis Road, Limerick, is the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Government of Ireland Employment-based Postgraduate Programme Award. 

Maryanne’s PhD research thesis focuses on how mental health programmes can be created and sustained as ways of combating adolescent alienation, self-harm, attempted suicide and death by suicide. Her project will be carried out in conjunction with Mary Immaculate College and Kerry Education and Training Board, with a sample of second-level schools in County Kerry.

 Following the announcement Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of MIC said: “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to Maryanne on this remarkable achievement. This is the first occasion on which an applicant from MIC has won an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship in the Enterprise Category.  Mental health promotion remains the most underdeveloped area of health promotion in Ireland and so we wish her every success with this very timely and worthy project”.

 Following the announcement Maryanne said: “I am honoured and privileged to have been awarded this Irish Research Council scholarship.  I am extremely fortunate to have the support of the Mary Immaculate College and my employment partner, Kerry Education and Training Board as I embark on this vital research study. I am very thankful to all concerned for their vision in backing this proposal”.

Speaking about the context for her research thesis project, Maryanne stated that “there has not been a full and comprehensive review of the co-ordination and implementation of mental health promotion in second level schools to date.”  She argues that there is an imperative to interrogate the variables of social analysis underlying Ireland’s place as the country with the 5th highest adolescent suicide rate in Europe (European Child Safety Alliance, 2014:18). In response to this  imperative, she  maintains that “theoretically robust and methodologically innovative research can potentially help to shed fresh light on the strategic planning and implementation approaches underpinning current mental health promotion models and yield recommendations for future practice in schools”.   

Prof. Michael Healy, Associate Vice President of Research, MIC, congratulated Maryanne saying: “With 12 years’ experience as a practitioner teaching in a second level school and currently employed with Kerry Education and Training Board, Maryanne is ideally positioned to carry out this much needed research focused on positive mental health promotion in post-primary schools.”

Maryanne graduated with a BA from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick in 1999 and with an MEd in 2007. Her MEd thesis was a qualitative school-based study focused on the attitudes and perspectives of teachers towards international students was an excellent example of applied research. Maryanne was supervised by Dr. Angela Canny, Assistant Dean, Faculty of Education, MIC, and was awarded a 1:1 honours award for this research project.

According to Prof. Jim Deegan, Head of Graduate School: “Maryanne has witnessed first-hand many of the challenges facing adolescents in post-primary schools and also those who strive to support them as teachers and mentors in the course of her day-to-day professional life with Kerry ETB. Little research exists on the interactive and irreducible dynamic between teachers, mentors and adolescents in the context of positive mental health promotion and the outcomes of her research will be welcomed by policymakers, practitioners and young people throughout the country.” 

 Maryanne will commence her research on 1st October 2015.

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