Research Projects

Kelley Hester

Current Research Masters Student

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Online Support regarding Student’s Mental Health and Well-being.

Research Project Summary:

To support the management and maintenance of students’ mental health and wellbeing, IT Sligo are providing all students the opportunity to engage with digital psychological intervention programmes. These digital supports, distributed on modes such as the internet webpages and on mobile devices, provide an accessible and convenient way for higher education students to seek and avail of psychoeducation and mental health care.

The main aims and objectives of the research is to firstly, evaluate the effectiveness of the digital psychological intervention programs, determining if these are helpful ways to support higher education students. Secondly, to examine the reasons for students availing of the supports, and to evaluate if the student believed there was an improvement in their college life and successful study as a result of engaging with the digital psychological intervention program. The current research study will be conducted using a mixed-methods approach, which includes quantitative research through online surveys and qualitative by form of individual semi-structured interviews.


Kelley is currently a MRes student at the Institute of Technology Sligo (November 2020-present). Her research interests include the mental health and wellbeing of students in higher education. Researching the effectiveness of digital psychological interventions programs in improving student’s mental health and wellbeing and the impact of mental illness and poor wellbeing on college life and successful study.

As a mature student, Kelley was among the first to graduate from the BA (Hons) English and Psychology, IT Sligo (2017-2020). With a keen interest in the disruptions that can occur during child development, and the impact of this on children’s mental health, her Psychology-Research Project titled “Exploring Anxiety in Middle Childhood: Within the Diversity of Attachment and Social Environments” was conducted in Psychology. With modules such as Adult Developmental Psychology, Research Methods for Psychology and Psychology-Research Project Kelley demonstrated a strong ability to collect and analysis both qualitative and quantitative primary data, using the NVivo and SPSS systems.

During BA (Hons) studies, in September 2019, Kelley represented IT Sligo and mature students returning to third level education, by being interviewed, on air on RTE Radio The Marian Finucane Show. Additionally, having completed training for The Peer Mentoring Programme, at IT Sligo, she volunteered as a peer mentor to first year students for the academic year 2019/2020. Serving as a class representative for the academic year 2019/2020.

Prior to starting higher education, Kelley worked as a Youth and Community Worker. She engaged as an Afterschool Assistant, Co-leader of Parent and Toddler Groups and Teenage Parents Toddlers groups and leader on annual summer camps. These roles included working with mainstream children or being solely responsible for the care of children/teenagers with additional needs. Taking part in initiating and overseeing programs for children aged 7-11 years and 12-16 years. Additional employment was in Early Childhood Education and Caring for the Elderly. Kelley also participated in voluntary work, including Children’s and Youth work, as well as being an active volunteer with Invisible Traffick, an Anti-Human Trafficking charity.