REFOCUS Committee Christmas Meeting
The College REFOCUS (Recovery Experience Forum of Carers and Users of Services) committee held their last meeting of 2018, on 14/12/2018.
Through regular meetings and sub group meetings REFOCUS debates issues, writes papers, presents at conferences and attends events of external bodies where the voice of those who use the mental health services and their family members/carers are found to be invaluable.
At this meeting CPsychI External Affairs and Policy Manager, Andrea Ryder, presented a department update to the REFOCUS Committee, detailing the activities and achievements from the year to date. The group were informed of the health and wellbeing survey of family carers in Ireland, by Family Carers Ireland in partnership with UCD Medicine and the College.
We’re working with @UCDHealthSystem, @ucdsnmhs, @DeeOD2 and @IrishPsychiatry to explore the health and wellbeing of family carers in Ireland. If you’re a family carer, please visit this link to complete our survey before the January 7th deadline: https://t.co/W8BON0j2Ld pic.twitter.com/yXYFk1hkxR
— FamilyCarersIreland (@CarersIreland) December 19, 2018
For the final REFOCUS meeting of 2018, the Committee conducted a brainstorming session to decide the next steps for REFOCUS and broke into small groups. All members reviewed the achievements, structure and future activity of REFOCUS.
The group reflected on how much growth and recovery can happen outside of the services when dealing with your mental health. Combatting stigma, breaking down barriers and writing papers were important achievements of REFOCUS which have allowed the committee to become a resource in itself for people. The group reflected on what they have learned collectively. Working with and learning about the psychiatrist’s/professional’s point of view has encouraged a greater understanding of mental health and the mental health services in Ireland.
REFOCUS is an effective example of carers, services users and professionals working together via mutual respect and understanding, creating a safe place of acceptance and respect. The committee hopes to further impact the mental health services in Ireland and expand nationally by working ‘on the ground’ with external organisations to speak with people directly and raise awareness.
The REFOCUS Annual Report 2017 was distributed among committee members. This report showcases the activities and highlights the achievements of the REFOCUS committee for 2017 which was a very productive year.
The group expressed their gratitude to Dr Anne Jeffers who announced that she will step down as joint chair of REFOCUS. Committee members thanked Dr Jeffers for her work and dedication to REFOCUS since it’s inception. The committee welcomed Dr Mia McLaughlin who will take over the position of joint chair alongside Christine McCabe. The committee also thanked Kevin Jones and Ciara Gillespie, who retired from the committee, for their work with REFOCUS.