Dr Maria Michail MSc, PhD

Dr Maria Michail

School of Psychology
Associate Professor
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Michail is a leading expert in the field of self-harm and suicide prevention. She has been awarded a 3-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship to explore how systems modelling and simulation can inform strategic decision making for suicide prevention in young people aged 12-25. Dr Michail is the Co-Chair of the International Association for Suicide Prevention Special Interest Group “Suicide Prevention in Primary Care”. Her work has had demonstrable impact on improved clinical practice across primary care in the UK through the development of good practice guidelines in managing suicide risk in consultations with young people.


BSc in Philosophy, Education, Psychology (Major: Psychology), University of Ioannina, Greece

MSc in Psychology, University of Essex

PhD Psychology, University of Birmingham


Maria Michail completed her BSc degree at the University of Ioannina (Greece) with a major in Psychology. She subsequently completed an MSc in Psychology at the University of Essex before obtaining a PhD in Psychology from the University of Birmingham. Maria worked as a Trial Manager for the MRC funded COMMAND Trial in the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham. Prior to taking up the post of Senior Birmingham Fellow, Maria was a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham.


Dr Michail is the lead of the Suicide and Self-harm module of the interdisciplinary MSc in Mental Health. 

Dr Michail was shortlisted in 2021 for the Award for HEFi Teacher of the Year.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students 

Jess Williams “Understanding the role of self-stigma and shame in suicidality and self-harm among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning young people: a mixed methods study” (ESRC DTP funded). 

Margaret Hardiman “Understanding the development and experience of self-harm in young Pakistani women in Karachi and Birmingham” (University of Birmingham Global Challenges Scholarship). 

Matt Horrocks “The development of an electronic clinical decision support system to support general practitioners in the identification, assessment and management of suicidal presentations in primary care” (CLAHRC-East Midlands funded PhD studentship) 

Supervision areas 

  • Primary care and suicide prevention
  • Novel approaches to identify young people at-risk of suicide
  • Interventions to reduce suicide risk across clinical and non-clinical settings.
  • Improving the assessment and management of suicide risk in healthcare settings. 
Those wishing to apply to work with Dr Michail are encouraged to contact her directly by email.


Research interests 

  • Applying systems science to suicide prevention
  • Suicide prevention in primary care settings
  • Understanding self-harm in young people with multiple vulnerabilities.
  • Interventions to reduce suicide risk among across different settings. 

Dr Michail’s research has been supported by research councils, trusts, third sector organisations and industry, including the ESRC, EU Horizon 2020. Key examples of recent funded projects include: 

  • SEYMOUR: System Dynamics Modelling for Suicide Prevention. European Union Horizon2020-EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowships (€ 295 940,16) 
  • Self-Harm in Eating Disorders: A Mixed-Methods Exploratory Study (SHINE Study; £149,956. NIHR Research for Patient Benefit; 2021-2023; Role: Co-Investigator). 
  • Childline’s identification of, and response to, suicide risk (£31,213; National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC); 2020. Role: Principal Investigator). 
  • The role of self-stigma and shame and in suicidality and self-harm among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people (£57,111; Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); 2018-2021. Role: Primary PhD supervisor). 
  • The development of an electronic, guided decision-making tool for use in primary care for the assessment and management of suicide risk (£70,000; Collaboration in Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC); 2015-2018. Role: Primary PhD supervisor) 
  • Evaluating quality and impact of acute paediatric inpatient care: defining the domains for a Patient Centred Outcome Measure (PCOM) in children and young people admitted for self-harm injuries (£50,000; NHS England; 2015-2016. Role: Co-Investigator) 
  • Evaluation of Connecting with People Suicide Awareness Training for General Practitioners (£17,000; East Midlands Patient Safety Collaborative; 2016-2017. Role: Co-Investigator) 
  • PRIMER Study: The development of an educational intervention for General Practitioners in identifying and managing suicide risk in young people (£25,000; NIHR Research Capability Funding - Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group; 2014-2015. Role: Principal Investigator) 
  • Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing (£30,000; ESRC Seminar Series; 2014-2017. Role: Principal Investigator)

Other activities


Advisory roles

2015-2016 Advisor for the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) providing guidance on key funding priority areas in mental health.

2015 Invited expert panel member for Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust wide working party to make recommendations to the Board and commissioners on the development of youth-friendly mental health services.

2016 Advisor for the UK Department of Health (DoH) on the development of the DH Mental Health Research Strategy.

2018 – to date  Invited member of Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee of BEST Trial (UK NIHR-funded)

2019 – to date   Invited member of the Birmingham Suicide Prevention Steering Group 

Guest Editor

2020 Special Issue “Self-harm and Suicide Prevention among Young People”, International Journal           of Environmental Research and Public Health

2017 Special Issue “Social Anxiety Disorder in Emerging or Early Psychosis”, Brain Sciences 

2020 Special Issue “Self-harm and Suicide Prevention among Young People”, Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 


  • Member of the International Association for Youth Mental Health
  • Member of the International Early Psychosis Association
  • Member of the International Association for Suicide Prevention


Recent publications


Wood, G, Goodyear, V, Adab, P, Al-Janabi, H, Fenton, S, Jones, K, Michail, M, Morrison, B, Patterson, P, Sitch, A, Wade, M & Pallan, M 2023, 'Smartphones, social Media and Adolescent mental well-being: the impact of school policies Restricting dayTime use-protocol for a natural experimental observational study using mixed methods at secondary schools in England (SMART Schools Study)', BMJ open, vol. 13, no. 7, e075832. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-075832

Michail, M, Robinson, J, Witt, K, Occhipinti, J-A, Skinner, A, Lamblin, M, Veresova, M, Kartal, D & Waring, J 2023, 'Which programmes and policies across health and community settings will generate the most significant impacts for youth suicide prevention in Australia and the UK? Protocol for a systems modelling and simulation study', BMJ open, vol. 13, no. 8, e071111. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-071111

Williams, AJ, Arcelus, J, Townsend, E & Michail, M 2022, 'Feasibility and acceptability of experience sampling among LGBTQ+ young people with self-harmful thoughts and behaviours', Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 13, 916164. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.916164

Catling, J, Michail, M, Lakhani , N & Devine, RT 2022, 'Psychological and lifestyle predictors of mental health in higher education: how healthy are our students?', Journal of Mental Health, Training, Education and Practice, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 562-571. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2021-0092

Lavis, A, McNeil, S, Bould, H, Winston, A, Reid, K, Easter, CL, Pendrous, R & Michail, M 2022, 'Self-Harm in Eating Disorders (SHINE): a mixed-methods exploratory study', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 7, e065065. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-065065

Ritunnano, R, Kleinman, J, Whyte Oshodi, D, Michail, M, Nelson, B, Humpston, CS & Broome, MR 2022, 'Subjective experience and meaning of delusions in psychosis: a systematic review and qualitative evidence synthesis', The Lancet Psychiatry, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 458-476. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(22)00104-3

Michail, M, Cairns, A, Preece, E & Mughal, F 2022, 'Supporting general practitioners in the assessment and management of suicide risk in young people: an evaluation of an educational resource in primary care', Primary Health Care Research & Development, vol. 23, e50. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1463423622000433

Guest, R, Copello, A & Michail, M 2021, 'A qualitative exploration of young people's experiences of attempted suicide in the context of alcohol and substance use', PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 8, e0256915. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256915

Williams, AJ, Jones, C, Arcelus, J, Townsend, E, Lazaridou, A & Michail, M 2021, 'A systematic review and meta-analysis of victimisation and mental health prevalence among LGBTQ+ young people with experiences of self-harm and suicide', PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 1, e0245268. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245268

Farr, J, Surtees, ADR, Richardson, H & Michail, M 2021, 'Exploring the processes involved in seeking help from a general practitioner for young people who have been at risk of suicid', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 4, 2120, pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042120


Michail, M & Witt, K 2023, 'Unleashing the Potential of Systems Modeling and Simulation in Supporting Policy-Making and Resource Allocation for Suicide Prevention', Crisis, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 261-266. https://doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000905

Other contribution

Michail, M, Hunter, R, Mitchell, L, Morgan, J, Rathore, I, Reid, K, Tresadern, C, Williams, B & Campbell, N 2021, #MyGPguide - visiting your general practitioner: a guide for young people with lived experience of self-harm and suicidality. University of Birmingham. https://doi.org/10.6084/M9.FIGSHARE.17069660.V1

Review article

Randhawa, A, Wood, G, Michail, M, Pallan, M, Patterson, P & Goodyear, V 2024, 'Safeguarding in adolescent mental health research: navigating dilemmas and developing procedures', BMJ open, vol. 14, no. 2, e076700. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-076700

Michail, M, Morgan, J & Lavis, A 2023, 'Youth partnership in suicide prevention research: moving beyond the safety discourse', BMJ open, vol. 13, no. 10, e076885. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-076885

Townsend, C, Humpston, C, Rogers, J, Goodyear, V, Lavis, A & Michail, M 2022, 'The effectiveness of gaming interventions for depression and anxiety in young people: systematic review and meta-analysis', British Journal of Psychiatry Open, vol. 8, no. 1, e25. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2021.1078

View all publications in research portal