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Courageous Queen’s student overcomes mental health issues to graduate

Nicole Devlin, aged 33 from Edendork, County Tyrone, has drawn upon her own experience and complicated journey through mental health to graduate today (Friday 10 July) with a BSc in Psychology.

Lanyon blue sky green grass

Nicole’s experiences, involving hospital admissions and self-harm, has turned a decade of difficulties into a renewed appetite for life.  

Nicole’s academic talent and passion for re-writing the script has already contributed to roles as a trainer and invited speaker on the international academic stage. In collaboration with local charity partners, Nicole has generously shared her own personal experiences of self-harm, suicidal behaviours and mental ill health. She has combined her own reflections with academic evidence to develop and deliver honest and genuine experiential training that raises awareness, builds empathy and tackles stigma.  

Nicole said: “Throughout my time at Queen’s, I wanted to take the opportunity to support many of those in society who don't have a voice. I have been active as a trainer with self-harm awareness charity, Harm-ED and I have also chaired a mental health campaign, to raise more awareness around mental health in our society.” 

Since completing her degree, Nicole continues to work with Mindwise as Project Lead delivering training on trauma informed approaches. Her insights have been positively reviewed by inter-disciplinary mental health professionals.  

Ann Doherty, CEO of Mindwise states: “Nicole is a passionate advocate for person centred practice. She brings expertise and skill to training design and delivery from both peer-led and co-production principles. Nicole is a highly effective communicator with a gift for public speaking on key areas of interest to clients and professionals alike.”  

Speaking about her plans after graduating, Nicole added: “I want to continue to change perspectives and lobby for a better understanding of mental health and I plan to return to study for my Master’s degree and pursue an academic career in the long term.  

Nicole was nominated by Dr Karen Galway, Lecturer in Mental Health at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s. Dr Galway said: “Nicole is a truly inspiring individual, making a positive difference in the world with the utmost humility and integrity.” 

Nicole Devlin will graduate virtually today on Friday 10 July with a Bachelor of Science Psychology degree (BSc) from the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast.