Dr Maria Michail MSc, PhD

Dr Maria Michail

School of Psychology
Senior Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Maria Michail leads the Suicide and self-harm research group at the Institute for Mental Health. Her work focuses on understanding the processes that underlie self-harm and suicidal behavior in young people with multiple vulnerabilities; and, using this knowledge to develop and evaluate evidence-based intervention to reduce suicide risk among young people and improve their care and outcomes. 


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.

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)

Snigdha Dutta “Understanding Pathways to Resilience in a Higher Education Setting in the UK – A Theoretical Approach” (University of Nottingham Vice Chancellor Scholarship).

Supervision areas

  • Primary care and suicide prevention
  • Novel approaches to identify young people at-risk of suicide
  • Interventions to reduce suicide risk across different 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.


Scopus Author ID: 26665573600

Research interests

  • Suicide prevention in primary care settings.
  • Understanding self-harm in young people with multiple vulnerabilities.
  • Interventions to reduce suicide risk among across different settings.
  • The role of technology in suicide prevention. 

Other activities

Maria Michail is a reviewer for the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) scheme and international funding bodies such as the Tryg Foundation, Denmark.

She has acted as an advisor for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) providing guidance on key funding priority areas in mental health. She has also been consulted by the Department of Health (DH) on the development of the DH Mental Health Research Strategy.

Maria is a member of the International Association for Youth Mental Health Research Network and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). 


Peer-reviewed journals


Michail M., Mughal F., Robinson J. (2020). Suicide prevention in young people: optimising primary care. British Journal of General Practice; 70 (692): 104-105. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp20X708329


Michail, M., Mughal, F., & Robinson, J. (Accepted/In press). Suicide prevention in young people: optimising primary care. British Journal of General Practice.

Williams, A.J., Arcelus, J., Townsend, E., Michail, M. (2019). Examining risk factors for self-harm and suicide in LGBTQ+ young people: A systematic review protocol, BMJ Open, 9 (11),


Birchwood M, Mohan L, Meaden A, Tarrier N., Lewis S., Wykes T., Davies L., Dunn G., Peters E., Michail M. (2018). The COMMAND trial of cognitive therapy for harmful compliance with command hallucinations (CTCH): a qualitative study of acceptability and tolerability in the UK. BMJ Open;8:e021657. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021657


Bastounis, T., Callaghan P., Lykomitrou F, Aubeeluck A., Michail M. (2017). Exploring Students’ Participation in Universal, Depression and Anxiety, Prevention Programmes at School: A Meta-aggregation. School Mental Health, 9 (4), 372-385

Birchwood, M., Dunn, G., Meaden, A., Tarrier, N., Lewis, S., Wykes, T., Davies, L., Michail, M. & Peters, E. (2017). The COMMAND trial of cognitive therapy to prevent harmful compliance with command hallucinations: predictors of outcome and mediators of change. Psychological Medicine, p. 1-9. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717003488

Michail, M., Tait, L., Churchill, D. General practitioners' clinical expertise in managing suicidal young people: Implications for continued education (2017) Primary Health Care Research and Development, 18 (5), pp. 419-428. 

Michail, M., Birchwood, M., Tait, L. Systematic review of cognitive-behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder in psychosis (2017) Brain Sciences, 7 (5), art. no. 45. 

Weber, A.N., Michail, M., Thompson, A., Fiedorowicz, J.G. Psychiatric Emergencies: Assessing and Managing Suicidal Ideation (2017) Medical Clinics of North America, 101 (3), pp. 553-571. 


Michail M and Tait L. (2016). Exploring general practitioners’ views and experiences on suicide risk assessment and management of young people in primary care: a qualitative study in the UK. BMJ Open, 6 (1) 

Bastounis A. Callaghan P., Banerjee A., Michail M. (2016). The effectiveness of the Penn Resiliency Programme (PRP) and its adapted versions in reducing depression and anxiety and improving explanatory style: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Adolescence, 52:37-48 


Saymah D, Tait, L., Michail M. (2015). An overview of the mental health system in Gaza: an assessment using the World Health Organization's Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS). International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 9(4) 


Birchwood, M, Michail, M, Meaden, A, Tarrier, N, Lewis, S, Wykes, T, Davies, L and Peters, E (2014). The MRC COMMAND trial: results of a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of cognitive therapy to prevent harmful compliance with command hallucinations. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(1): 23-33 

Michail, M and Birchwood, M (2014). Social anxiety disorder in first-episode psychosis: The role of childhood trauma and adult attachment. Journal of Affective Disorders, 163: 102-109 

Ibrahim N., Michail M., Callaghan P. (2014). The strengths based approach as a service delivery model for severe mental illness: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. BMC Psychiatry, 14: 243 

Michail, Birchwood, Tait (2014). A systematic review and meta-analysis of cognitive-behaviour therapy for social anxiety disorder in psychosis. Systematic Reviews, 3(62) 

Tait L., Michail M. (2014). Educational interventions for general practitioners to identify and manage depression as a suicide risk factor in young people: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. Systematic Reviews, 3 (145) 


Michail M. & Birchwood M. (2013). Social anxiety and shame cognitions in psychosis. Psychological Medicine, 43 (1): 133-142


Brunet K., Birchwood M., Upthegrove R., Michail M., Ross K (2012). A prospective study of PTSD following recovery from first-episode psychosis: The threat from persecutors, voices and patienhood. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 51 (4): 418-437 

Griffiths S.L., Michail M., Birchwood M., (2012). Cognitive theory and therapy for command hallucinations. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 3 (4): 537-551 


Birchwood M., Peters E., Tarrier N., Dunn G., Lewis S., Wykes T., Davies L., Lester L., Michail M. (2011). COMMAND: A multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of cognitive therapy to reduce harmful compliance with command hallucinations. BMC Psychiatry, 11:155 

Palma-Sevillano C., Cañete-Crespillo J., Farriols-HernandoN., Cebrià-Andreu J., Michail M., Alonso-Fernández I., Fernández-Vargas M., Segarra-Gutiérrez G. (2011). Randomised controlled trial of cognitive-motivational therapy program for the initial phase of schizophrenia: a 6-month assessment. European Journal of Psychiatry, 25 (2): 68-80 


Michail M. & Birchwood M. (2010). Social Anxiety in Psychosis: Towards a new understanding of affective dysfunction. Mind & Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry, 1 (1), 65-73 


Michail M. & Birchwood M. (2009). Social anxiety disorder in first-episode psychosis: Incidence, phenomenology and relationship with paranoia. British Journal of Psychiatry, 195: 234-241 

Lester H., Birchwood M., Freemantle N., Michail M., Tait L. (2009). REDIRECT: Cluster randomized controlled trial of GP training in first-episode psychosis. British Journal of General Practice, 59 (563), e183-e190 


Michail M. & Birchwood M. (2007). Social phobia and depression in psychosis. Journal of the Norwegian Psychological Association, 44: 2-11 (Invited)

Book chapters (all invited) 

Michail M. Social Anxiety Disorder in Psychosis: a critical review. In New Insights into Anxiety Disorders (ed. Dubano F.): 173-188. InTech, 2013 

Michail, M & Birchwood, M. Understanding the role of emotion in psychosis: social anxiety disorder in first-episode psychosis. In Textbook of Schizophrenia Spectrum and Related Disorders: Insights from views across 100 years (eds. Ritsner, M.): 89-110. Springer, 2011 

Michail, M. & Birchwood, M. Command Hallucinations. Theory and Psychological Interventions. In CBT for Psychosis: A Symptom-based Approach (eds: Hagen R., Turkington D., Berge T., Grawe R.). Routlege, 2010 

Birchwood M., Gleeson A., McCutcheon L.K., Francey SM., Michail M. Emotional and personality dysfunctions in early psychosis. In The Management and Recognition of Psychosis. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, 2009

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