Shane O’Donnell

My academic interest in men’s health was stimulated by my undergraduate degree in Sports Science (First Class Honours Degree). I became particularly interested in the health behaviours of male athletes and how they conducted themselves in male-dominant environments. I grew increasingly aware of the gendered pattern of suicide and I began to reflect on how phrases such as ‘man up’ and ‘be a man’ were impacting on men’s mental health. This led me to pursue a research based postgraduate degree in men’s health and suicide prevention at the Institute of Technology Carlow. I received an Irish Research Council Scholarship to explore the factors underpinning the high suicide rates among middle-age men at risk of marginalisation in the Republic of Ireland which I completed in December 2017. I published the results of my study in the Middle-Aged Men and Suicide Report which will be launched at the Men’s Health Symposium in Dublin in March 2018.

The innovative use of creative media to address male suicide was an idea that excited me which led me to my current PhD research at Queen’s University Belfast. I was awarded a Marie-Curie funded scholarship to conduct this research. Beyond QUB, I work on the Erasmus+ project ‘Sports Science Students as Mentors’ which aims to promote educational attainment among young boys and men through the mentoring of Sports Science students. I am also part of the management committee of the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland.