The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland REFOCUS Committee held their 3rd quarterly meeting in Dublin city centre on Friday 9th September. The committee welcomed three new members to the group: Dr Verena Keane and Dr Marina Bowe, both consultant psychiatrists, and Rick Rossiter, a service user and mental health advocate. During the introductions the group reiterated to the new members their reasons for being a part of REFOCUS:
“We bring it back to basics.”
“We are not a diagnosis, we are all people with families.”
Dr Anne Jeffers gave a brief presentation on the aims of REFOCUS meetings, common issues that both service users and carers might have when using mental health services as well as addressing some issues and goals that the group would like to overcome. Following this presentation, each member of the group were allowed 2 minutes to briefly express their experiences with mental health and what they hope to achieve through REFOCUS.
The day was a very busy one with lots of topics to cover, papers to work on, and issues to discuss. The Committee continued working on two ongoing CPsychI papers: Family Dynamics Paper; and Spirituality Paper; and the REFOCUS Annual Report 2015. Discussion also took place regarding further collaboration with CPsychI Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee sub working groups following successful input from REFOCUS at Medfest, Summer Schools, and the trainee newsletter Think Tank.
The Committee also volunteered members to contribute to the joint Shine and CPsychI Conference in Galway. Committee members Dr Anne Jeffers, Rick Rossiter, Jeanine Webster, and Louisa Corr all sat on panel discussions at the conference which was held on 14th October.
Also discussed was the upcoming Annual joint CPsychI and RCPsych NI Winter Conference where REFOCUS plan to have an information stand to liaise with members of the Colleges and promote the work done by the Committee.
During the break Dr Anne Jeffers, Brian McNulty, and Julie Healy all gave separate presentations to a CPsychI Trainee event, also taking place in the Ashling Hotel, on the work of REFOCUS, their own experiences, and the benefits of giving hope and possibilities while listening and keeping recovery in mind in treatment.