PSYCHED is an initiative of Cork Healthy Cities and Counties, supported by Healthy Ireland, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Health Service Executive, University College Cork and community workplace partners. 


The current PSYCHED Steering Group is listed below:


Aoife Ni Chonchuir

Health Promotion Officer, Psyched Co-ordinator, Health & Wellbeing, HSE


Prof. Daniel Flynn BA, MA, PsSI DPP (Clin) C.Clin.Psycholo., P.s.S.I

Daniel Flynn is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland and Principal Psychology Manager co-ordinating Adult and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Psychology Services in the Health Service Executive (HSE) across counties Cork and Kerry, Ireland.

He is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Applied Psychology University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. He has accumulated over 20 years experience of working in mental health services.

His clinical interests are in working with individuals who struggle to regulate emotions and engage in high risk self harm behaviours and considering the impact of these behaviours on families and systems. In recent years he has focused on considering not only intervention but prevention of mental health distress, looking at both mental health and school based populations.

He is the originator of the PSYCHED Initiative working with Cork Health Cities and partner agencies to promote mental health and wellbeing in workplaces and communities across the city and county.

Denise Cahill

Healthy Cities Co-ordinator, Health & Wellbeing, HSE

Denise is the Healthy Cities Coordinator for Cork City and Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Public Health in University College Cork.  Denise has extensive knowledge, experience and understanding of health promotion, wellbeing and a commitment to the social determinants of health and the reduction of health inequalities. 

Denise graduated with a Degree in Sports & Exercise Science in 1998 and a Masters in Health Promotion in 1999.  Denise has over 25 years of experience working in Public Health and Health Promotion in the Health Service in Ireland.  Denise has a key role in a variety of health related Cork city based Inter-Agency projects and partnerships. 

Denise also has a strong personal and professional interest and commitment to climate justice and environmental sustainability.  The Irish Examiner listed Denise among 100 Women ‘Blazing a Trail and Changing Ireland Today’ in 2023.

Justina Hurley BA(Hons,) MA, MPH, Dip (Life Skills Coaching)

Associate Lecturer - School of Public Health, UCC (Health Communications / Occupational Health Masters programmes). Owner - SuccessSkillsCoaching.com

Justina holds a MA in English from UCC and spent many years working in Corporate Communications management in the UK and Ireland. She has written extensively for various business publications over the years and continues a freelance consultancy role in success skills coaching and media training as well as a writing career. Her interest in health related communications led back to UCC in 2014 to undertake a Masters in Epidemiology and Public Health (MPH) receiving a First Class Honours MPH in 2015.

Justina has also worked with the National Suicide Research Foundation as Senior Research Officer on the National Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Project and with Professor Ella Arensman on the development of the WHO practice manual for establishing and maintaining surveillance systems for suicide attempts and self-harm.

In her private work Justina use her training in Crisis PR, Tim Gallwey's Inner Game techniques and Inquiry Based Stress Reduction to work with individuals and groups to enhance resilience, set goals and maintain inner balance.

Dr Caleb Leduc BA (Hons) BEd, MHK, PhD.

Lecturer in Occupational Health and Academic Director of the MSc in Occupational Health (blended) programme within the School of Public Health at UCC. 

Originally from northern Ontario, Canada, Caleb has completed Honours undergraduate degrees in Sport Psychology (Laurentian University) and Education (Lakehead University), a Masters in Human Kinetics (Laurentian University) and postgraduate certificate in Knowledge Mobilization (University of Guelph) before pursuing his doctorate in Organizational Health and Wellbeing at Lancaster University in the UK.

Prior to taking up his post as Lecturer, Caleb was a  postdoctoral researcher, with both the School of Public Health and the National Suicide Research Foundation, working on the Horizon 2020 funded MENTUPP research programme. Previously, Caleb was a Research Associate with the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) and Sessional Lecturer in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. 

Caleb’s applied research experience is diverse, spanning nearly a decade leading internationally recognized participatory research evaluating and positively impacting psychological health and well-being, physical fitness, job stress and injury incidence.

Dr. Coleen Cormack

Senior Clinical Psychologist, HSE, Ireland South Women & Infants Directorate, South/Southwest Hospital Group

Niall O Callagahan

Healthy Ireland Coordinator, Cork County Council

Mick Whelan

Mick Whelan is the owner, consultant, trainer and coach at MW Health & Safety with 30 plus years’ experience within a wide variety of industries. Mick started on the ground and in 2008 made the decision to return to education and complete the Diploma in Health & Safety with UCC and from there set up MW Health & Safety. As an innate advocate for Mental Health, Mick brought his caring and empathetic nature to each new venture throughout his career and in 2019 committed to UCC’s MSc in Occupational Health.

His thesis “Mental Health in the Construction Workforce” aimed to address the need for mental health intervention within this industry. In 2021 Mick took it a step further and went back onto the sites to spread the message. Since then he has travelled Ireland with his “Introduction to Mental Health Awareness” workshop and continues to bring to life his vision of a healthier, less stigmatised and well-trained workforce where mental health awareness is a priority.

FHA Headshot

Fern Higgins Atkinson

Programme Manager, Relationships in Practice, SHEP

Fern is responsible for the management and development of the Relationships in Practice Programme. Relationships in Practice is one of Ireland’s leading providers of relationship-centered communication training.  Fern and the team work to support and build relationships in practice and they aspire to an Ireland where all frontline workers are well placed to respond in a sensitive and focused manner when someone ‘turns to’ them for support. The broad scope of their work in Relationships in Practice encompasses; Training, Advocacy, Collaboration and Evaluation. Relationships in Practice is a new collaboration between the Ag Eisteacht Foundation and the Social and Health Education Project (SHEP). Relationships in Practice was formerly known as ‘Ag Eisteacht’. Ag Eisteacht was originally founded in 2001 with a focus towards building relational capacity in frontline workers. 

Fern is also an experienced trainer/facilitator, a registered health promotion practitioner,, professional youth worker and a Youth Mental Health First Aid associate instructor. She is also a part-time lecturer at University College Cork in programmes including the BSocSc (Youth & Community Work), UCC ACE diploma in youth and community work and contributes content to undergraduate and postgraduate modules. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health and is currently undertaking doctoral research surrounding youth mental health policy and online media. Other work relating to mental health included coordinating Ability West Cork, a programme working with young people living with mental health difficulties. She also holds several voluntary positions including chairperson of Clonakilty Brass Band and is the outgoing chair of Bród, a community group supporting and promoting LGBTQI+ people and issues in West Cork.

Stephen Murphy

Social Inclusion Development Worker, Cork City Council

Jim O Donovan

Chairperson, Cork Healthy Cities


“Adverse trends in the health of the community and the population impact on the whole of society.”

Department of Health and Children

The Department of Health and Children published Healthy Ireland: A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025 in 2013 and Connecting for Life: Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020 in 2015. Both policies aim to improve health and wellbeing outcomes at both a general population level and specific target group levels.

Within the framework of these policies there is considerable scope for a universal intervention programme aimed at promoting mental wellbeing and developing resilience.

Health, both mental and physical, impacts greatly on overall wellbeing, particularly in light of the socioeconomic consequences of poor health. Not only is the individual’s immediate support network impacted by poor health, “adverse trends in the health of the community and the population impact on the whole of society.” (Department of Health and Children, 2013, p. 6)

Many people have misconceptions about mental health problems. (WHO, 2005, p. 13)

Examples of misconceptions include:
• The belief that mental health problems cannot be treated.
• The belief that personal deficiencies can lead to mental health problems.
• The belief that people diagnosed with mental health disorders are unable to run their own lives or make decisions pertaining to their lives (WHO, 2005).

The improving levels of employment in Ireland provide considerable scope for the delivery of a universal intervention programme aimed at promoting mental wellbeing via the workplace, particularly considering that “the failure to prevent, recognise and treat mental health problems in the workplace has an impact on employers, employees and their families, and the community generally.”
(WHO, 2005, p. 19; tradingeconomics.com, 2015)