Dr Roisin Mooney is a Project Manager and Researcher working with Professor Kam Bhui in the CHiMES Collaborative in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
Tell us a little about yourself, and what attracted you to studying/working at the University of Oxford?
When I was in secondary school completing my A-Levels, there were around fifteen of my friends who were invited into another room to have a different conversation about university. They were the ones who were encouraged to apply to Oxford or Cambridge University, the best of the best. The following year I went through clearing and was fortunate to get a place to study Psychology at Brunel University.
I later completed my PhD at Hertfordshire University, then gained employment with Professor Kam Bhui at Queen Mary University, working in the area of ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness. When the opportunity to come to Oxford University presented, I was excited to join an incredibly eminent institution at such an early stage of my career. A space that in my teenage years I had never imagined myself worthy of. Although it’s only been a year (during a pandemic) I really enjoy working at Oxford and am continually inspired by the calibre, tenacity and ideas of the people I’m surrounded by.
What is your vision for the team/project/research you study/work with?
I would like for creative methodology to become more established and recognised as a legitimate way of conducting research. I think this provides a unique opportunity for people with lived experience to be empowered as peer researchers.
What is currently at the top of your To-Do List?
Ensure that everything is in place for the Co-Pact project, which looks at using photovoice as a policy research tool to inform experience based co-design workshops in seven localities to contribute towards the reform of the Mental Health Act and reduce ethnic inequalities. We are aiming to hold all our photovoice workshops by the end of the year.
How did you get to where you are today?
I completed a PhD (in developing depression screening tools for South Asian dialysis patients) part-time alongside being employed full-time as a lecturer, clinical trials co-ordinator and research assistant, simultaneously. I felt at a crossroads after my doctoral viva, I didn’t see myself as a lecturer, and couldn’t identify my niche as a researcher. I considered whether my experience may have more potential in a different industry. After much debate, conversations with colleagues helped me to recognise the value of my skill set as a researcher and project manager. I am now incredibly grateful that I stayed in academia, and have found a clearer career path.
Who or what inspires you?
I have been very fortunate to have had some incredible mentors and supervisors academically and personally. There’s a phrase used by the stoics “memento mori” – remember that you are mortal, having experienced the sudden death of loved ones, this inspires me to do the best I can, as you can’t predict what each 24 hours will hold.
If you were not in your study programme/job currently, what would you like to be doing?
I have always had a creative streak, and have also modelled and sold paintings, so I would likely be doing more of those things. I would also like to do more to promote mental and physical wellbeing in an inclusive and accessible way.