Recovery Experience Forum of Carers and Users of Services
REFOCUS originally formed in late 2011 with 10 people with experience of the mental health services, 10 of their family members and carers, and one psychiatrist (Dr Anne Jeffers). Members give their time to work with the College in improving training of psychiatrists, and in identifying ways to improve the mental health services. The committee now comprises 8 people with experience of the services, 8 of their family members and carers and 8 psychiatrists, with Dr Mia McLaughlin acting as Joint-chair alongside Ms. Christine McCabe, who has been involved with the committee since its inception. The work and objectives have broadened to encompass ongoing education and training of psychiatrists.
Through a series of regular meetings and sub-group meetings REFOCUS debates issues, writes papers, presents at conferences and is invited to 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.
REFOCUS Papers such as Who Cares? Listening to the needs and experiences of carers of people with mental illness and On the One Road to Recovery look specifically at the role of the carer and/or service user to raise awareness of their specific needs. College faculties and Council have had an opportunity to advise and comment on the papers, but the content of all REFOCUS papers are solely the responsibility of those who have used the services and their family members and carers. Council members have welcomed REFOCUS papers as a means of facilitating more dialogue between College members and both users of their services and their family members/carers.
The Committee are currently working on projects around Spirituality, Family Dynamics, Psychaitric Diagnoses and the Monetary Impact of Mental Illness with potential papers, events and video content all in the pipeline.
REFOCUS have published an Inaugural Report which documents its work since the groups inception in 2011 to 2014. The full inaugural report is available to download here.