General Information


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 Mr. Brian McNulty, who has been involved with the committee since its inception and elected to the role in late 2021. 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.

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

The group will shortly open a recruitment process for new members – please contact Karen McCourt at for more information.

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