Presentation by Dr Tiago Miguel de Castro Gomes

Dr de Castro Gomes, member of REFOCUS and the Trainee Committee, gove a presenation on what the Trainee Committee is, who is counted among its members, what the Committee does and some of the challenges Psychiatry trainees face.

Psychiatric Diagnosis and Family Dynamics

Groups met separately to organize main talking points and key messages of upcoming videos, which will be filmed and edited in-house by College EAP Department members.

Monetary Impact of Mental Illness: Next Steps

Following successful feedback on the Monetary Impact workshop, it was agreed that the workshop should be run again, potentially in Waterford in late May or early June. The EAP department will look into funding and venue availability.



Presentation on EAP Department Activities

Andrea Ryder and Karen McCourt discussed the recently completed projects by the EAP Department, including:

      • The passing of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act as part of the steering group of the Alcohol Health Alliance.
      • Two reports in collaboration with Family Carers Ireland on assessing the burden of caring, with a focus on the health and wellbeing of family carers.

Working Group Projects

The Monetary Impact of Mental Illness group have been meeting separately to help plan and discuss the programme for the upcoming symposium on 23 January. For the Family Dynamics and Psychiatric Diagnosis groups, it was agreed that a collaborative proposal template must be drawn up for both groups to go to management and the finance committee of the College, as this all needs to be approved before any in-depth discussions of the content of these videos can take place.



Presentation by Dr Bobby Smyth

Dr Bobby Smyth met with REFOCUS members to present on his experience using Telepsychiatry (video consultation) whilst working in Queensland, Australia. He also discussed his involvement in pilot schemes for this technology in Ireland. Telepsychiatry services increase the accessibility of psychiatry services to those in rural and remote areas. Dr Smyth outlined the potential benefits, challenges and considerations of the telepsychiatry model.

Working Group Projects

More work was done on the Family Dynamics and Psychiatric Diagnosis projects, while a separate meeting for the Monetary Impact of Mental Illness Workshop was to be scheduled in order to plan for the symposium.



Presentation by Maeve Doyle

Maeve Doyle met with REFOCUS members in her capacity as the newly appointed Director of External Affairs and Policy for CPsychI and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist to discuss CAMHS.

Working Group Projects

The group reviewed three ongoing subgroup projects, including Monetary Impact of Mental Illness Workshop, Family Dynamics and Psychiatric Diagnosis.



Monetary Impact Project Meeting

The REFOCUS Committee met to discuss the next steps of their Monetary Impact Project. The aim of this project is to help psychiatrists be aware of the financial impact of having a mental illness and how psychiatrists can help them, specifically in relation to three key areas: Disposable income, Employment, and Housing.



December Committee Meeting

REFOCUS Committee 14th December 2018

At the December REFOCUS meeting the Committee bid farewell to Dr Anne Jeffers who retired as REFOCUS Co-Chair. Dr Jeffers founded the REFOCUS committee in 2011. The committee wishes to acknowledge her tireless commitment to the group, without which there would have been no REFOCUS. The committee is pleased to welcome Dr Mia McLoughlin as the new Co-Chair.

Spirituality Paper

REFOCUS have been working on a paper on Spirituality entitled “Spirituality and its place in Mental Health Practice: Raising Awareness and being Mindful of Bias” and reviewed a video from RCPsych. They agreed this video is a fantastic encapsulation of what they aim to discuss in their paper.

REFOCUS at Mind Reading – Mental Health and the Written Word Conference 2018, Birmingham, UK

FROM L-R: Christine McCabe, Brian McNulty, REFOCUS co-chair and co-ordinator, Dr Anne Jeffers,  Julie Healy, Rick Rossiter




Foundation Year Induction Programme

The College hosted its first week-long Induction Programme for Foundation Year trainees. The aim of the programme was to provide new Doctors with the skills and knowledge required, at an early stage of their careers, to address their confidence and psychological well-being, and issues of patient safety. Dr Anne Jeffers, consultant psychiatrist, Clinical Lead for the National Clinical Programme for the Assessment and Management of Patients who present to the ED following Self Harm, and joint chair of CPsychI REFOCUS Committee, provided Suicide Response training, which covered safety plans, mitigation strategies, and information on on-call assessment, amongst other areas, both at a national and individual level. REFOCUS member Mr Rick Rossiter also contributed to the workshop alongside Dr Anne Jeffers by sharing his experience of living with mental illness.

REFOCUS also held a plenary session where Dr Verena Keane was joined by Mr Rick Rossiter and Mrs Julie Healy who described the work of REFOCUS, discussed the value of family involvement and issue of confidentiality and spoke of their lived experiences as service user and family carer.

“Communication bridges the gap between psychiatrists, services users and carers & the sharing of experiences of carer and service users is very useful and enlightening.” – Trainee feedback on REFOCUS plenary presentation

Psychiatry Summer School

Medical students and Interns from across the country were welcomed by the College to the Psychiatry Summer School for an insight into the varied career opportunities that lie within the many psychiatric specialties and subspecialties – areas of interest which are often not covered in Undergraduate teaching. Students heard from REFOCUS members Laura Louise Condell and Julie Healy on the affect psychiatry has had on their lives as people with experience of using the mental health services and as a family member of someone with experience of the services.

l-r Laura Louise Condell (REFOCUS), Julie Healy (REFOCUS), Christine McCabe (REFOCUS Co-Chair) at the CPsychI Psychiatry Summer School 2018




Five members of REFOCUS attended the two-day Mind Reading conference in Birmingham University, which was a joint collaboration between the University of Birmingham, UCD Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Diseases of Modern Life and Constructing Scientific Communities Projects at St Anne’s College, Oxford. They spoke about their experience of mental illness and caring for someone with a mental illness and the effect literature has had on this part of their lives. This is the second Mind Reading conference REFOCUS has been involved with and REFOCUS hopes to be involved again next year.

REFOCUS members with Mind Reading Conference organisers

Pride Month

Laura Louise Condell, REFOCUSer and coordinator of the Dublin Lesbian Line, talks to the College about talk mental illness, mental health, and being part of the LGBT community. You can listen to the interview below or read the full interview here.

Living Library for Green Ribbon Month

REFOCUSer Rick Rossiter spoke about ‘A Father’s Confession’ where he shared his lived experience with bipolar and borderline personality disorder and his own suicide attempt which had a profound affect on his father, a fact he subsequently learned 30 years later. Louisa Corr also spoke of her experience as a family member who supports someone with a mental illness. This was part of the ‘Living Library’ in Stephen’s Green as part of Green Ribbon month which aimed to challenge the stigma of speaking about mental health difficulties and to encourage an important mantra ‘Don’t Judge A Book by Its Cover’.

l-r Dr Sarah O’Dwyer, Mr Rick Rossiter, Dr Miriam Kennedy at the ‘Living Library’ 2018



REFOCUS presentations

REFOCUS members presented at Shine ‘Recovery and the Family’ Conference on May 20th.

REFOCUS member Rick Rossiter participates in the annual CPsychI Walk and Talk with psychiatrists in St Stephen’s Green as part of Green Ribbon month, in collaboration with See Change.



REFOCUS host workshop at Mind Reading – Mental Health and the Written Word

Over 50 people gathered in the LexIcon Library main auditorium to attend the REFOCUS workshop as part of the Mind Reading – Mental Health and the Written Word Conference on March 10th in Dun Laoghaire. To read more about the workshop by REFOCUS please click here.



REFOCUS Presentation

Four REFOCUS members sit on two discussion panels at the annual joint conference with Shine Click here to read more about the conference.




To read about the 3rd Quarter 2016 meeting click here

For REFOCUS Committee Activity 2015 click here




The group welcomed 3 new members to the group and shared their valuable insights into their own lived experiences with the Mental Health Service.



New members for REFOCUS sought

The group is currently recruiting new members and invites expressions of interest. The deadline for applications is 14th August 2014. Please find further details here.



REFOCUS at NCHD Conference 2014

Dr Anne Jeffers, Ms Jeannine Webster and Mr Diarmuid Ring recently spoke at the College’s Annual NCHD Conference. Presenting “On Learning from the Patient”, they spoke with valuable insight on engagement with service users and their families, and on their own experiences of recovery respectively.



Recovery paper launched

The group presents their latest paper, “On the One Road to Recovery”, launched at the College’s Winter Meeting, November 2013, by a service user sub group of REFOCUS. In this paper, the group use their experience to help trainee psychiatrists, and to help to all who experience mental illness and to their families. Please click on the link below to read.

REFOCUS workshop at Spring Conference 2013

Partnership and Sharing Approaches – Who Cares? The Carer Perspective for Psychiatrists

Prepared by carers’ subgroup of REFOCUS CPsychI with a foreword by Dr Anne Jeffers, Director External Affairs & Policy 2013. This paper was launched at the College’s Spring Conference 2013, in conjunction with a workshop, “Partnership and Sharing Approaches- Who Cares? The Carer Perspective for Psychiatrists“. Please find photos here.

REFOCUS Media Coverage

Brian McNulty & Anne Jeffers on Ireland AM from College of Psychiatrists.