Dr Rachel Winter BA MA PhD

Dr Rachel Winter

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Rachel is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Applied Health Research. Her background is in medical sociology and qualitative methods. She specialises in using online and offline ethnography to research mental and physical health.

Her research explores peer support on social media, and the influence that online discussions have on offline engagement with healthcare services. Her research interests further include masculinities and health, qualitative methods, and how health information is shared online.  

In her current work she uses online ethnography to understand the ways in which people engage with online discussions, with a focus on self-harm and suicide content.


  • PhD in Public Health, 2018
  • MA in International Development, 2014
  • BA (Hons) in Geography, 2013


Rachel completed a BA in Geography at the University of Lancaster, followed by an MA in International Development and PhD in Public Health at the University of Sheffield. Throughout this, she used sociological theories and qualitative methods to explore physical and mental health.

In her PhD she used ethnography, interviews and autophotography to explore masculinities and eating practices in the Philippines. She researched the impact of social, cultural and gendered practices on food consumption.

As a post-doctoral researcher, she has worked on a range of studies using both online and offline ethnography to research mental health. This has included exploring the ethics of care on social media, online discussions about self-harm and suicide, and researching mental health inpatient wards.

She has also researched how knowledge is exchanged on social media about physical and mental health, and the impacts this may have on offline engagement with healthcare services.

Rachel currently works on a Samaritans funded project which aims to understand what online self-harm and suicide content may be harmful or beneficial and to whom. 


Raphael, J, Winter, R, Adams, J & Berry, K, 2021 ‘Developing guidance for psychological professionals on inpatient mental health wards during the Covid-19 pandemic’. Clinical Psychology Forum 338