Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer

Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer

Health Services Management Centre
Associate Professor

Contact details

School of Social Policy, HSMC
Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT

Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer is Associate Professor of Social Care. She specialises in research on the needs and experiences of unpaid carers (also known as family carers or caregivers), with a particular focus on suicide and homicide. She also collaborates on research on other aspects of care, as well as ageing, dementia, and social media.


Google Scholar


Bachelor of Arts (Psychology; 2003)

Doctor of Philosophy (Human Movement Studies; 2009)

Graduate Certificate in Education (Higher Education; 2010)


Dr O'Dwyer joined the University of Birmingham in 2022 as Associate Professor of Social Care. Prior to that she was Senior Lecturer in Ageing and Family Care at the University of Exeter (2016-2022) and a Research Fellow at Griffith University (2010-2015). She has also worked in the third sector, leading applied research and policy development. 

Dr O'Dwyer tweets at @Siobhan_ODwyer and is indebted to the Yuggera and Ngunnawal people, on whose land she lived and worked before moving to the UK. 



Dr O'Dwyer leads research on suicide, homicide, and self-harm in unpaid carers (known outside the UK as family carers or caregivers). This research seeks to understand how many carers harm themselves; how many carers consider ending their own life and/or the life of the person for whom they care; and, how many carers act on those thoughts. It also seeks to understand the factors that put carers at risk and the best ways to support carers who are self-harming or contemplating suicide or homicide. 

Dr O'Dwyer also collaborates on research about other aspects of caring, as well as dementia, ageing, and social media.  All of her research is conducted in partnership with carers, patients, clinicians, and community organisations, and it is underpinned by her personal commitment to doing research on care in a way that is itself caring.

Dr O'Dwyer's research has received international media coverage and led to changes in practice and policy in Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands. It has also inspired creative works by Australian playwright Emma Workman and British artist Leo Jamelli. Workman's play Yielding was shortlisted for Best New Australian Work in 2019 and has been produced by theatres in Brisbane and Sydney. Jamelli's artworks The Invisible Carer and Spotlight on Care have appeared on prominent buildings in Exeter and London. Spotlight on Care was also shortlisted for the Derwent Art Prize in 2022, one of just 72 artworks selected from 6000 entries worldwide, and exhibited at galleries in London and Paris.

Other activities

Honorary Associate Professor, University of Exeter Medical School


Recent publications


Wang, J, Spencer, A, Hulme, C, Corbett, A, Khan, Z, Vasconcelos da silva, M, O’dwyer, S, Wright, N, Testad, I, Ballard, C, Creese, B & Smith, R 2022, 'Healthcare utilisation and physical activities for older adults with comorbidities in the UK during COVID-19', Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. e2365-e2373. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13675

Bartmess, M, Talbot, C, O'Dwyer, S, Lopez, RP, Rose, KM & Anderson, JG 2022, 'Using Twitter to understand perspectives and experiences of dementia and caregiving at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic', Dementia (London, England), vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 1734-1752. https://doi.org/10.1177/14713012221096982

Creese, B, Khan, Z, Henley, W, O'Dwyer, S, Corbett, A, Da Silva, MV, Mills, K, Wright, N, Testad, I, Aarsland, D & Ballard, C 2021, 'Loneliness, physical activity, and mental health during COVID-19: a longitudinal analysis of depression and anxiety in adults over the age of 50 between 2015 and 2020', International Psychogeriatrics, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 505-514. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610220004135

Talbot, CV, O'Dwyer, S & Heaton, J 2021, 'The use of Twitter by people with young-onset dementia: a qualitative analysis of narratives and identity formation in the age of social media', Dementia (London, England), vol. 20, no. 7, pp. 2542-2557. https://doi.org/10.1177/14713012211002410

Talbot, CV, O'Dwyer, ST, Clare, L, Heaton, J & Anderson, J 2020, 'How people with dementia use twitter: A qualitative analysis', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 102, pp. 112-119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.08.005

O'Dwyer, S 2020, 'The involvement of people with dementia in advocacy: a systematic narrative review.', Aging & Mental Health, vol. 25, no. 9. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2020.1783512

O'Dwyer, S 2020, 'What Works in Violence Prevention Among Young People?: A Systematic Review of Reviews.', Trauma, violence & abuse, vol. 23, no. 5. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838020939130

Anderson, JG, Eppes, A & O'Dwyer, ST 2019, '"Like Death is Near": Expressions of Suicidal and Homicidal Ideation in the Blog Posts of Family Caregivers of People with Dementia.', Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 9, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9030022

Group, AMOTPPI, Liabo, K & O'Dwyer, S 2019, 'Research Commentary: A Carer's Roadmap for Research, Practice, and Policy on Suicide, Homicide, and Self-Harm.', Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 9, no. 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9050048

Joling, KJ, Ten Have, M, De Graaf, R & O'Dwyer, ST 2019, 'Risk factors for suicidal thoughts in informal caregivers: Results from the population-based Netherlands mental health survey and incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2)', BMC Psychiatry, vol. 19, no. 1, 320. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-019-2317-y

Moyle, W, Jones, C, Murfield, J, Thalib, L, Beattie, E, Shum, D, O'Dwyer, S, Mervin, MC & Draper, B 2018, 'Effect of a robotic seal on the motor activity and sleep patterns of older people with dementia, as measured by wearable technology: A cluster-randomised controlled trial', Maturitas, vol. 110, pp. 10-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2018.01.007

Talbot, C, O'Dwyer, S, Clare, L, Heaton, J & Anderson, J 2018, 'Identifying people with dementia on Twitter.', Dementia (London, England), vol. 19, no. 4. https://doi.org/10.1177/1471301218792122

O'Dwyer, S 2018, 'Self-care for academics: a poetic invitation to reflect and resist', Reflective Practice, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 243-249. https://doi.org/10.1080/14623943.2018.1437407


O'Dwyer, S, Boothby, S, Smith, G, Biddle, L, Muirhead, N & Khot, S 2022, 'Unpaid carers are the missing piece in treatment guidelines and research priorities for ME/CFS', The BMJ, vol. 378, o1691, pp. 1. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1691

Review article

O'Dwyer, ST, Janssens, A, Sansom, A, Biddle, L, Mars, B, Slater, T, Moran, P, Stallard, P, Melluish, J, Reakes, L, Walker, A, Andrewartha, C & Hastings, RP 2021, 'Suicidality in family caregivers of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities: a scoping review', Comprehensive Psychiatry, vol. 110, 152261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2021.152261

View all publications in research portal


Carers; Unpaid Carers; Family Carers; Parent Carers; Disability; Suicide; Murder; Murder-Suicide; Homicide; Homicide-Suicide