General Information

External Affairs & Policy

Here you will find our mission and objectives, learn about External Affairs & Policy, our team and how we work.

Recovery Experience Forum of Carers and Users of Services

REFOCUS is made up of people with experience of the mental health services – patients/service users, family members/carers and psychiatrists. The committee’s role is to inform and influence all aspects of the College business objectives, particularly the training experience of young future psychiatrists and identifying ways to improve the mental health services with psychiatrist members.

REFOCUS, originally formed in 2011, comprises 24 people with experience of services: 8 patients/service users, 8 family members/carers and 8 psychiatrists (including one trainee psychiatrist).

REFOCUS members give their time to work with the College to enhance and inform training and ongoing education of psychiatrists from a lived experience perspective, and in identifying, with CPsychI members, practical ways to improve the mental health services.

The group is currently jointly chaired by Dr Mia McLaughlin, Consultant Specialist Psychiatrist and Mr Brian McNulty, who has been involved with the committee since its inception. Both are members of the College Council. The work and objectives of REFOCUS have broadened and changed over the years to encompass ongoing changes in the mental health landscape.

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 the family members/carers are found to be invaluable.


Working within the College to inform and guide psychiatrists towards the highest standards in training, ongoing competence and day-to-day practice.


  1. Improve mutual understanding and respect between College Psychiatrists/College members and those who use services.

  2. Contribute to the training of College members.

  3. Contribute to the development of good practice guidelines for College members.

  4. Learn more about Psychiatry.

  5. Signpost to a wider constituency of service users and family members.

  6. Preparation and publication of papers.


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.

You can read or download any of the REFOCUS papers and publications here.

The Committee are currently working on projects around Spirituality, Family Dynamics, Psychiatric 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.

REFOCUS have also published Annual Reports which document the committees work:

Click here to download the REFOCUS Annual Report 2018
Click here to download the REFOCUS Annual Report 2017
Click here to download the REFOCUS Annual Report 2016
Click here to download the REFOCUS Annual Report 2015

REFOCUS Members 2020

  • Dr Mia McLaughlin – Joint Chair
  • Brian McNulty – Joint chair
  • Angela Dooley
  • Julie Healy
  • Laura Louise Condell
  • Kara Madden
  • Louisa Corr
  • Marina Bowe
  • Eileen McCluskey
  • Rick Rossiter
  • George Bridges
  • Tony Blackmore
  • Jeannine Webster
  • Verena Keane
  • Marie Oppoboen
  • William Flannery
  • Julie Cleere
  • Malcolm Garland
  • Tiago de Castro Gomes
  • Michael Norton