Dr Nadia Svirydzenka

Job: Associate Professor/Reader in Culture, Identity, and Mental Health

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Research group(s): Mary Seacole Research Centre (Deputy Director), Institute for Psychological Science (Social, Culture, and Personality Cluster)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 250 6483

E: nadzeya.svirydzenka@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/appliedsocialsciences


Personal profile

Dr Nadzeya (Nadia) Svirydzenka is an Associate Professor/Reader in Culture, Identity, and Mental Health at De Montfort University. She completed her BSc in Psychology at Drake University, United States; MSc in Cross-Cultural Psychology and Brunel University, London; and a PhD with the focus on Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Dundee, Scotland. She then spent four years as a Research Associate at the Greenwood Institute of Child Health at the University of Leicester prior to taking up position at De Montfort University, Leicester in 2014.

Dr Svirydzenka is a social and cultural psychologist, and her research interests lie in understanding mental health of vulnerable populations though culturally framed identities, attitudes, stigma, and behaviours.

As culture reflects sociocultural and economic factors underpinning power dynamics in any given society, in her research she uses emancipatory and critical research paradigms employing inclusive participatory methodologies embracing the principles of co-creation. She blends the use of creative methodology (theatre, photo elicitation, digital storytelling) with traditional mixed methods (qualitative interviews and quantitative survey methods) to elicit new stories and lived experiences and catalyse fresh thinking about possible solutions.

A central theme for her research concerns how mental health and resilience can be developed in response to social challenges like migration, conflict, poverty, and gender violence; what resources mitigate the adverse mental health consequences; and how they can be mobilized from within communities for effective interventions. Dr Svirydzenka’s research challenges traditional separation of meaningful identities like gender, ethnicity, and migrant as separate categories and she is interested in an integrated approach focused on interactions and intersections between these categories. She am interested in identity intersectionality approach to understanding socio-cultural complexities that make individuals and communities not only more vulnerable to mental ill health but also help map their empowered solutions and pathways to resilience, recovery, empowerment, and visibility.

Research group affiliations

  • Mary Seacole Research Centre (DMU; Deputy Director)
  • Institute for Psychological Science (DMU)
  • Leicester Centre for Mental Health Research (DMU, UoL, LPT; Culture and Ethnicity Topic Lead)

Research interests/expertise

  • Identity & Identity intersectionality
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Identity and health
  • Migration
  • Communities and groups experiencing marginalisation
  • Identity Structure Analysis
  • Creative and participatory methodologies
  • Mixed methods research.

Areas of teaching

  • Social Psychology
  • Cross-Cultural/Cultural Psychology


PhD in Social and Developmental Psychology, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education & Fellow of HEA, De Montfort University, UK

MSc in Cross-Cultural Psychology, Brunel University, London, UK

BSc in Psychology, Drake University, Iowa, United States

Membership of professional associations and societies

International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology,  2015 – Present 

Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, 2017 – Present 

The Higher Education Academy (Fellow), 2017 – Present 

European Association of Social Psychology, 2011 – Present 


Co-I | CHAMPIONS Project (ESRC COVID Rapid Response) 2020-2022

CHAMPIONS is a national project looking at the impact of COVID and living through lockdown on children under 5 who are living in temporary accommodation (TA) due to experiencing homelessness. We are working alongside families and professionals to co-develop recommendations for future support and best practices.

These are grounded in research evidence in order to support families’ recovery after the pandemic and enable professionals to prepare for future pandemics.

Co-I | MeHeLP Project (GCRF/ESRC/AHRC) 2018-2021

Good mental health is recognised as an integral part of a person’s wellbeing and development embedded in all aspects of life, their beliefs, faith, culture, environment, spirituality, work, housing, education, family and community respect.

Our aim is to spread public awareness on mental health literacy in urban and rural India. Our work focuses on lived expertise stories of people with mental health problems and their families to promote public understanding about living with mental illness, help seeking and support for promoting mental health and wellbeing.

Our emphasis is on formulating knowledge in new, creative and accessible ways, through use of creative methodologies and media engagement as an intervention to enable knowledge to be used in genuinely empowering and emancipatory ways by the public and services in urban and rural India.

Co-I | CESAME Project (TRIUMPH) 2020-2021

The project is a collaboration between the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), De Montford University, Centre for Mental Health, and Leaders Unlocked, using a participatory design approach to work with young people from ethnically diverse groups.

Transition from primary to secondary school can be exciting, but it can also be a stressful experience for young people and can have a negative impact on their mental health. Young people from ethnically diverse groups may be particularly poorly supported in the transition process, and we have very little knowledge of their transition experiences. A participatory design approach enables understanding by focusing on their lived experience to create new insights and opportunities for co-designing future experiences.

Conference attendance


Invited Keynote and Panelist Participatory Models of Research for Community Mental Health. Taxila International Conference, Guyana, 2021

Svirydzenka, N. (26, May 2021). Participatory And Creative Models of Research For Community Mental Health. Modern Approaches for Better Health 8th International Congress,Gomel State University, Belarus.

Svirydzenka, N. (15 May 2018). Introducing ‘Culture’ in the Curriculum: Cultural Literacy in Teaching & Studying Psychology. Invited talk at 3T Session, De Montfort University.

Svirydzenka, N., Dogra, N., & Vostanis, P. (9 May 2016). Ethnicity, migration history and mental health of Indian and White British adolescents. Tilburg University, NDL.


Svirydzenka, N. (Jul. 2021). Global narratives on mental health and wellbeing: Stories from India. Symposium at International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) 25th International Congress

Svirydzenka, N. (Oct. 2019). Positive Development and Critical Perspectives on Emerging Adulthood. Paper Session at Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, Toronto, Canada


Svirydzenka, N. & MeHeLP Team (16-18, Sep. 2021) Co-producing Mental Health literacy in communities in India using Applied theatre methodology. WASP Asia – Pacific Hybrid Congress, New Delhi, India.

Svirydzenka, N. & MeHeLP Team (27-31, Jul. 2021) Urban and Rural narratives of carers, users, and community members on mental health literacy in Kerala, India. International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) 25th International Congress, Online

Svirydzenka, N., Sharshakova, T., Wiium, N., & Dimitrova. R. (10-12, Oct. 2019). Positive Youth Development and Developmental Assets of Emerging Adults in Belarus.Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood 9th Congress, Toronto, Canada.

Svirydzenka, N. (19-20 Sep. 2019). Participatory research with young people with mental health needs.Mental Health, Migration, and Resilience Conference, Pune, India.

Svirydzenka, N., Sharshakova, T., Wiium, N., & Dimitrova. R. (25-26, Oct. 2018). Positive Youth Development of Emerging Adults in Belarus. Modern Approaches for Better Health 7th International Congress,Gomel State University, Belarus.

Svirydzenka, N., Adams, B. G., and van de Vijver, F. (2-5 Jul. 2018). Inclusive Identity and Multicultural Attitudes as Factors in Academic Engagement and Motivation in BAME and White British youth in the UK.International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) 24rdInternational Congress, Guelph, Canada.

Svirydzenka, N., Adams, B. G., and van de Vijver, F. (2-4 Nov. 2017). Inclusivity and Multicultural Attitudes as Factors in Academic Engagement and Motivation of Emerging Adults in the UK. Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, Washington DC, US.

Svirydzenka, N., Dogra, N., & Vostanis, P. (30 Jul.-3 Aug. 2016). Ethnicity, migration history and mental health of Indian and White British adolescents.International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) 23rdInternational Congress, Nagoya, Japan.

Current research students

Lois Dugmore Mental health service use by Polish migrants in the UK, First supervisor

Paul Mulvenna Interoception and emotion recognition in bipolar disorder, First supervisor

Prisca Juma-Phiri Sexual heal of HIV positive women in Malawi, First supervisor

Rahaf Koja Resilience in Syrian Refugees, Second supervisor

Externally funded research grants information

  • £60k, Gender Based Violence Research Network India (AHRC, PI), 2022-2023

  • £20k, Organisational Inclusion of Cultural Diversity (NHS commission, PI) 2022 - 2023

  • £522k, Impact of COVID on children experiencing homelessness (UKRI/ESRC, Co-I), 2020 – 22

  • £30k, Mental health & cultural diversity in school transition (TRIUMPH Network, Co-I), 2020 – 21 

  • £687k, Mental health literacy in communities in India (GCRF/ESRC/AHRC, Co-I), 2018 – 21