School of Nursing and Midwifery

James Millman

Research Theme: Supportive and Palliative Care

Research Title: Cancer and Serious Mental Illness: A Qualitative Exploration

Research Interests: Psychosis, the physical health of people with mental illness, health behaviour, communication between healthcare workers, and informal caregiving. 

Supervisors: Dr Karen Galway, Dr Joanne Reid and Dr Olinda Santin


Personal Bio

After spending most of my 20s working in homeless hostels I returned to university to study mental health nursing. I graduated from the School of Nursing in Midwifery and worked for Four Seasons from 2012-13 in a unit for people with alcohol-related brain damage. My interest in the holistic health needs of people with serious mental illness led me to take up the opportunity of a PhD.  

Project Summary

People with serious mental illness (SMI) who have cancer are more likely to die than those without SMI. This has been linked to these patients being more likely to be diagnosed late and less likely to receive specialist treatment. This research aims to explore the reasons for this by carrying out semi-structured interviews with patients, their informal caregivers and healthcare professionals across the mental health and cancer fields. This will provide rich data about the experiences of those affected by this comorbidity or looking after someone with it, adding to the body of knowledge in this under-explored area. 

My Perfect PhD Day

The best days have been those where I’ve set up an interview, got an interview done, or done a good bit of writing. 


I really enjoyed teaching the undergraduates for Evidence Based Nursing (Year 2).

Other Activities

None right now, although I had fun organizing a pub quiz for Postgraduate Week in Year 1. 

When I’m not PhDing…

I am spending time with my wife Catherine, fantasizing about holidays or reading something non-work-related. 

Conferences & Publications

Millman, J., Galway, K., Santin, O. and Reid, J., 2016. Cancer and serious mental illness–patient, caregiver and professional perspectives: study protocol. Journal of Advanced Nursing72(1), pp.217-226. Doi: 10.1111/jan.12812

Millman, J., Galway, K., Santin, O. and Reid, J., 2016, March. The views of healthcare professionals on the care of patients with comorbid serious mental illness and cancer: preliminary findings. In PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY (Vol. 25, pp. 5-5). 111 RIVER ST, HOBOKEN 07030-5774, NJ USA: WILEY-BLACKWELL. (Conference presentation)

Millman, J., Galway, K., Reid, J. and Santin, O., 2015, June. Findings from a systematic review:'Cancer and people with Serious Mental Illness.'. InEUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CANCER CARE (Vol. 24, pp. 14-14). 111 RIVER ST, HOBOKEN 07030-5774, NJ USA: WILEY-BLACKWELL. (Conference presentation)

Other conference presentations:

All Ireland Cancer Consortium (10-13 May 2015) - Poster re Protocol ('Research Protocol - Cancer and Serious Mental Illness: A Qualitative Exploration'), Poster re Literature Review ('Findings from a systematic review: Cancer and people with Serious Mental Illness). 

University of Ulster Mental Health Conference (22 October2014) - 'Cancer and People with Serious Mental Illness' (plenary presentation).