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Exploring preventive interventions for youth mental health issues

Mary Cannon has an international reputation in the field of psychiatry, particularly developmental psychiatric epidemiology and youth mental health

As a consultant psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Cannon’s area of research interest is youth mental health.

She has a longstanding research programme aimed at identifying early life risk and protective factors for later mental disorder particularly psychosis. She is also very interested in investigating the links between cannabis use in youth and mental health problems later in life.

Her research is funded by the European Research Council and the Health Research Board (Ireland).

Psychotic experiences and cannabis use

Marys’ group continue to produce highly cited papers which attract attention in the area of youth mental health, psychotic experiences and cannabis use. Her group are now examining mediators of the association between childhood adversity and later psychotic experiences and other mental health problems in young people.

These findings point to preventive interventions which may prevent or pre-empt the development of mental health problems in young people who have experienced adversity.

Mary Cannon has featured on the Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher list which identifies researchers who have published multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% of citations in their chosen field in the Web of Science™ citation index.

Mary has been awarded a Research award in the category of Psychiatry from the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland on two occasions.  In 2020 Mary was awarded “Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award” from the Schizophrenia International Research Society in recognition of her work in the field of psychosis.

Advocacy in mental health for young people

Mary is passionate about advocacy in the field of mental health and has served on a governmental Task Force on Youth Mental Health (2017) and a ministerial rapid response group on Substance Use in Third Level Students (2019) and a member of the Advisory Support Group of the Citizen’s Assembly on drugs use. She is currently vice president of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland and vice-chair of the Youth and Student Psychiatry Faculty.

She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. She serves on the Editorial Boards for the British Journal of Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin and the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine.

Mary has frequently given interviews to journalists on print media and radio on the topic of youth mental health and cannabis use in youth. She took part in a public lecture event organised by RCSI on the subject of Cannabis and Youth Health attended by over 500 people which has had over 2.6k views on YouTube. She is one of the creators of mentalhealtheducate.ie – a website which provides youth mental health educational resources for teachers and other educators.

She featured in a TV documentary on the topic of psychosis called “Hearing the Voice”. Mary was also a co-author on a colouring book called “Journey through the Brain” for young people which has been translated into three languages.

International activities in psychiatry

Mary served on the Executive committee of the Academic Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) from 2016-2019 and she was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2018.

Mary Cannon was Chair of the Diversity Task Force of the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) in 2021/2022 and was co-chair of the Programme Committee for the Schizophrenia International Conference held in Florence, Italy in April 2022.

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