Global Irish Network Series: "'The Troubles,' the Covid Pandemic, Unexpected Death and Complex Grief" (Queen's University Belfast)


Location: Webinar Format

Northern Ireland’s Troubles left nearly 4000 dead and tens of thousands of bereaved relatives. Each death was sudden, unexpected, and unnecessary. The Covid pandemic has now cost over 2.5 million lives globally, and each death was also sudden, unexpected, and unnecessary.

In these circumstances, elevated rates of both post-traumatic stress disorder and complicated or complex grief can be expected. We can learn much from our experience of the Northern Ireland conflict. A society cannot move on unless traumatised individuals are offered optimal treatments.

In this webinar (4:00 pm Ireland, 11 am EST), Queen's University Belfast professors Michael Duffy and Ciaran Mulholland will discuss the impact of mass-casualty events and societal trauma as well as the necessity of addressing their mental health consequences. We must act both to address the needs of individuals and to address wider societal trauma.

Moderator: Dr. Anne Campbell, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work. Her area of focus is substance abuse and mental health.

Queen's University Belfast is part of The Global Irish Network, formed this year during the pandemic to enable virtual connections in Irish Studies communities. Global Irish Network members include The National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin, Queen's University Belfast, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3, The University of Aberdeen, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Liverpool, The University of Notre Dame, and The University of Oxford.



More about the Queen's University Belfast presenters:


Dr Michael Duffy is a cognitive psychotherapist specialising in PTSD and complex grief.

He is the Director of the Specialist MSc (Trauma) in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at Queen’s University and is recognised worldwide as an expert on the psychological impact of trauma, regularly being invited to provide keynote addresses at international conferences.

He led the work and research of the Trauma Team after the Omagh bombing in 1998 and facilitated studies into the psychological effects on staff providing health care in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. Since then he has provided workshops on PTSD for therapists working with large scale traumas including the 9/11 Twin Towers attack, the Oslo bombing and Utoya Island shootings and the Manchester Concert bomb. He is also a member of the recently formed UK Trauma Council.

At present, Dr. Duffy is researching key cognitive themes linked to complex grief, a condition that more patients will be expected to present with at mental health clinics as a consequence of bereavement by Covid-19. 







Dr. Ciaran Mulholland is Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of the Northern Ireland Regional Trauma Network, a clinical service for individuals with PTSD as a consequence of the violence of the “Troubles.”.He is also a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Medical Education at Queen’s University.

He is clinical co-lead for an innovative service for young people who are at risk of developing serious mental health conditions, many of whom have suffered psychological trauma. He is the Clinical Director of the Northern Ireland Regional Trauma Network for the treatment of conditions occurring as a consequence of trauma, especially trauma arising from the "Troubles" and also sits on the UK Contact group which co-ordinates clinical services for veterans with mental health problems.

Dr. Mulholland sits on the Department of Health Mental Health and Emotional Well-being Working Group and is co-ordinating the writing of a rapid review of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the NI population. He is also a member of the Regional Covid Ethics Group which is currently writing a regional framework and guidance document on the ethical issues raised by the pandemic.