Dr Sally Paul

Senior Lecturer

Social Work and Social Policy (Subject)


Personal statement

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Work and Social Policy where I teach on the undergradaute and postgrauate programmes in social work.  Before joining the university, I worked for 10 years as a professional social worker in the statutory and voluntary sectors, both in Scotland and the USA.  These experiences underpin my current teaching and research and promoting and developing social work practice is a key priority.

I am actively engaged in a number of inter-disciplinary research projects and knowledge exchange activities with specific interests in: death, dying, loss and bereavement; public health approaches to palliative care (including compassionate communities); childhood; participatory research methods; and practice development.  I welcome opportunities to work collaboratively.

I am a registered social worker with the Scottish Social Services Council and a member of the Association of Palliative Care Social Workers and the Public Health Palliative Care Internatinal. I have a PhD in Social Work from the University of Edinburgh and am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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Area of Expertise

  • Death, dying, loss and bereavement
  • Public health approaches to palliative care (including compassionate communities) 
  • Participatory research methods
  • Research with children and young people
  • Practice and service development

Prize And Awards

HASS Teaching Excellence Award: Effective Sustained Contribution
HASS Early Career Impact Award
HaSS Outstanding Impact for Policy Award

More prizes and awards

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Is death and grief in the Scottish curriculum? A research briefing paper
Paul Sally, del Carpio Laura
Suicide bereavement and postvention approaches for young people in Scotland
del Carpio Laura, Paul Sally, Rasmussen Susan
The Routledge International Handbook of Child and Adolescent Grief in Contemporary Contexts (2023) (2023)
Death in the Scottish curriculum : denying or confronting?
Paul S, del Carpio L, Rodríguez P, de la Herrán A
Death Studies Vol 48, pp. 820-835 (2023)
Palliative social work in the United Kingdom
Chaddock Becky, Paul Sally, Cullen Anne
The Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work (2022) (2022)
Engagement of specialized palliative care services with the general public : a population-level survey in three European countries
Vleminck Aline De, Paul Sally, Reinius Maria, Sallnow Libby, Tishelman Carol, Cohen Joachim
Palliative Medicine Vol 36, pp. 878-888 (2022)
Public health palliative care education : children and schools
Paul Sally
Oxford Textbook of Public Health and Palliative Care (2022) (2022)

More publications

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My teaching spans three broad fields: social work, bereavement and loss and research skills. I teach across both of the qualifying social work programmes: the BA(Hons) in Social Work and the Masters of Social Work.  I also contribute teaching on bereavement and loss in other settings, academic and practice, to a variety of disciplines. 

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Research Interests

My research focuses on bereavement, loss and end-of-life care with a particular emphasis on developing the resilience of communities to better cope with, and support, related experiences.  I have a particular interest in the experiences of marginalised groups, including children and young people and people involved in the criminal justice system. I have experience of action research and am committed to participatory research methods that have impact across practice and policy as well as within academia.

I welcome proposals from Undergraduate, Masters or potential PhD students with related research interests. 

I currently supervise the following doctoral students: 

David Duncan - Experiences of Bereavement: Using creative methods with children and young people to share, explore and express (with Dr Anna Robinson)

Keyla Correa-Montenagro - The politics of a Good Death (with Professor Ian Greener)

Sallyanne Mercer - Death and dying in prison: deconstructing disenfranchised dying (with Professor Beth Weaver)

Emma Young - Supporting successful parenting: exploring professional responses to women in and leaving care who are pregnant or parenting (with Dr Laura Steckley)

I have supervised the following doctoral students to successful completion of their award:

Dr Tia Simanovic - Bereavement and imprisonment: an exploration of the experience of grief and loss prior to and during custody (with Professor Beth Weaver) Thesis available here

Dr Laura del Carpio - Life after loss: a theory based investigation of the impact of bereavement by suicide or other causes on adolescents in Scotland Thesis available here

Professional Activities

Bereavement: prevalence, impact and the need to take action
The 7th International Public Health Palliative Care Conference
DDD16: Learning from Suffering and Dying
External Examiner: PG Diploma in Palliative Care Social Work
Joint Social Work and Education Conference
Good Life Good Death Good Grief winter get-together'

More professional activities


Developing confident life stories about child bereavement: normalising and supporting bereavement experiences through storytelling and comics
Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator) Nabizadeh, Golnar (Principal Investigator) Murphy, Christopher (Co-investigator) Jindal-Snape, Divya (Co-investigator) Herd, Damon (Co-investigator) Vaughan, Philip (Co-investigator) Paul, Sally (Co-investigator) Furnivall, Judith (Co-investigator) Vaswani, Nina (Co-investigator)
Total funding provided by SUII:£18,000.00

The programme explores the impact of bereavement on young people aged 12–18 years, supporting them to construct and represent their bereavement stories through the medium of comics. Bereavement is a common childhood experience: more than 75% of young people have experienced the death of someone close (Harrison & Harrington 2001) and this is higher for vulnerable children (Vaswani 2014). Bereavement may have short and long-term impacts on a child's wellbeing, including psychological health and educational achievement. Recent Scottish policy emphasises developing discourse and support around bereavement: yet, a culture of not talking about the issue remains (Knight et al 2000). Carers and professionals express a wish to support young people, but can lack the confidence or skills to do so (Paul 2016). Comics are an ideal medium for storytelling as the combination of image and text generates creative responses to physical and mental health issues (Squier & Marks 2014). The process of creating and reading comics helps generate confident life stories: a key component in building resilience (Bosticco & Thompson 2005). Programme outputs are designed to support professionals and carers to respond meaningfully and effectively to childhood bereavement, inform national policy on childhood bereavement, and normalise bereavement more broadly.
03-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2019
Examining the Impact of Suicide on Adolescent Survivors (Student - Laura del Carpio)
Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator) Paul, Sally (Co-investigator)
Examining the Impact of Suicide on Adolescent Survivors (Student - Laura del Carpio)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2021
Trauma, Bereavement and Loss Services at HMP Polmont YOI: My Life With Others
Vaswani, Nina (Principal Investigator) Paul, Sally (Co-investigator)
31-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2016

More projects

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Dr Sally Paul
Senior Lecturer
Social Work and Social Policy (Subject)

Email: sally.paul@strath.ac.uk
Tel: Unlisted