REFOCUS Meeting 21/09/2018
The College REFOCUS (Recovery Experience Forum of Carers and Users of Services) committee held their third meeting of 2018, on 21/09/2018.
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 REFOCUS member Laura Louise, presented on LGBTQIA+ Awareness, including language, support groups, history and culture in Ireland. The group heard Laura Louise’s personal experiences of living in Ireland with the double stigma that often comes with being both a member of the LGBT community and having a mental illness. Laura Louise described inclusive terminology aimed to raise awareness and breakdown barriers. She described her work as a coordinator of the Dublin Lesbian Line, a voluntary helpline charity which provides support nationally to members of the LGBTQ community.
The group discussed how the labels differentiate what was once under the same umbrella term and may now provide someone a means to identify themselves and connect with others in the community.
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 first week-long Foundation Year Induction Programme for the new Trainees of the College took place in August 2018. REFOCUS members Julie Healy, Rick Rossiter, Verena Keane, Laura Louise Condell and Anne Jeffers attended across the week. The REFOCUS sessions and input were well received with excellent feedback from the trainees.
REFOCUS were involved in the recent Psychiatry Summer School 2018, organised by the Trainee Committee of the College, for the eighth consecutive year. Closing the day students heard from REFOCUS members Laura Louise Condell and Julie Healy on the affects psychiatry has had on their lives as someone with experience of using the mental health services and as a family member of someone with experience of the services.
A possible ‘brainstorming day’ to refocus and decide the next steps for REFOCUS took up a good portion of the business section of the meeting. The College is ten years old at the end of the year and REFOCUS has been in existence for seven of those years so it is timely to review and refresh and decide how and what REFOCUS will work on for the College in the next few years.
Draft position papers currently being worked on by the group were discussed: ‘The Monetary Impact of Mental Illness‘, ‘ Family Dynamics‘ and a potential paper on psychiatric diagnoses ‘Should we re-think diagnosis’. paper. The group is working toward obtaining statistics to support their work with regard to living with mental illness in Ireland and family involvement.
Dublin Lesbian Line Dublin Lesbian Line is a confidential support helpline, operated by a group of enthusiastic female-identified (LGBTQ) volunteers supporting the LGBTQ community all over Ireland with many problems, issues and concerns. firstname.lastname@example.org. (01 872 9911)