Information Sheet

**Participation in the interview is now closed**

This page contains information about Phase 2 of the study (the interview). Please read carefully.

Can I take part in the interview? You can take part in the interview if you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following questions:

  • Are you aged 18 or older?
  • Do you currently live in the Republic of Ireland?
  • Do you identify yourself as having or having had a mental health problem (a clinical diagnosis is not required)?
  • Have you used an online mental health self-help programme to get support for a mental health problem? (Please check this page if you are unsure)
  • Are you comfortable with using the English language?

Do I have to take part in the interview? No – it is entirely your choice whether to take part or not in the interview.

What does taking part involve? Taking part involves participating in an individual interview with Manuela Ascari, the Principal Investigator, to talk about your use of online mental health self-help programmes from your own perspective and experience. The purpose of the interview is to explore in more depth the experience of using an online mental health self-help programme for mental health support.

At the beginning of the interview you will be asked short demographic questions, such as your age, gender and occupation. The rest of the interview will resemble a conversation where you will be asked questions around a number of topics, such as aspects of the online mental health self-help programmes that you have used, how you got to use them, what was positive or negative about that experience, and your opinion on the Internet as a source of support for people with mental health problems.

The interview will be audio-recorded and it will last approximately 60 minutes.

As we are still facing a period of community-wide isolation due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the interview will take place remotely. The interview will be done online using the Zoom application (, using audio only (no video). The Principal Investigator will set up a meeting in Zoom and email you a Zoom link and password to give you access to the meeting. If you do not have Zoom, you will need to download it on the device from which you plan to do the interview (e.g. your laptop or smartphone). The principal Investigator will email you instructions to help you do so. She will also email you guidelines on how to participate in an online interview.

How will my identity and confidentiality be protected? Your interview will be audio-recorded, then transcribed using false names for you and the people or places you may mention. This will protect your identity if extracts from your interview transcript are included in the Principal Investigator’s PhD dissertation or public presentations of the research results.

The Principal Investigator’s supervisors and PhD examiners may ask to see the interview material, for the purpose of monitoring and assessing the conduct and quality of the research study. Rest assured that your personal information and interview material will be treated as strictly confidential. However, please be aware that confidentiality can only be protected within the limitations of the law – it is possible for information to be subject to subpoena, freedom of information claim or mandated reporting.

Your interview audio-recording and transcript will be kept securely on the Principal Investigator’s password-protected computer. The audio-recording will be permanently deleted after the completion of this PhD and research. The transcript will be kept for another seven years, then deleted.

Online platforms like Zoom use the method of encryption to make online communication private and protect it from eavesdroppers. However, please be aware that Zoom does not have end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption prevents anyone from seeing or listening to an online conversation. This includes the company that provides the online communication service (e.g. Zoom, Skype). Currently, Zoom meetings are protected with regular encryption. This has privacy limitations because Zoom hold the codes (encryption keys) that encrypt the meetings. For an overview of Zoom Privacy Policy, please see

How will my information be used? Your interview will be analysed alongside the interviews of the other participants to look for commonalities and differences in the experience of using an online mental health self-help programme. Extracts from your anonymised interview transcript may be included in the Principal Investigator’s PhD dissertation, public presentations or academic publications of the research, to help illustrate the research results (as explained at the previous point, your identity will be protected by replacing all names with false ones).

A summary of the research results will be published on this website. The Principal Investigator’s PhD dissertation will be published on DORAS, the Dublin City University institutional repository, which is publicly accessible online.

What are the possible benefits and risks of taking part? Many people who participate in research interviews find the process of thinking and talking about their experiences beneficial. The Principal Investigator hopes that you will benefit in the same way from your participation.

While you are thinking about your own experience of using an online mental health self-help programme, you may also remember negative or difficult moments related to that experience. Should this cause you distress, you can choose to take a break, ask to continue the interview on a different topic, or indeed end the interview. You will not be asked to discuss anything you do not wish to talk about.

If you experience distress during the interview and feel you need support or advice in relation to that, you may wish to make contact with someone within your own support network. The following services may also be contacted:

HSE Counselling in Primary Care (CIPC) – A professional counselling service for medical card holders. People are referred by their GP or other Primary Care professional. Information is available at the following link:

Healthy Living Centre (HLC) – Confidential, community based counselling and psychotherapy service. Address: Healthy Living Centre, School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9 – Phone: 01-7007171 / 7007173 – Email: – Website: All services have been moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do I take part? If you would like to take part in the interview, please contact Manuela Ascari, the Principal Investigator, at 01-7008926 or email her at .

What if I decide to take part and later change my mind? Your participation in the interview remains voluntary at all times. You can change your mind and withdraw at any time before, during or after the interview, without explanation or negative consequences.

Who can I contact if I have any questions about this research study? If you have any questions about this research study, please contact Manuela Ascari, the Principal Investigator, at 01-7008926 or email her at

This research study has been approved by Dublin City University Research Ethics Committee (REC reference number: DCUREC/2017/073). 

If you have concerns about this study and wish to contact an independent person, please contact:
The Secretary, Dublin City University Research Ethics Committee, c/o Research and Innovation Support, Dublin City University, Dublin 9. Tel 01-7008000, e-mail

To participate in the interview, please contact Manuela at 01-7008926 or