Mental Health Engagement (working with service users, families and carers)


In recent years there has been an increasing focus in mental health, on working collaboratively with service users, family members and carers. This theme is highlighted in the current national policy: A Vision for Change: Report of the expert group on Mental Health Policy (DOHC, 2006); and the HSE National Strategy for Service User Involvement in the Health Service 2008- 2013.

The Mental Health Division National Operational Plan 2015 includes the Strategic Priority that "Service users, families and carers are central to the design, planning, delivery and evaluation of services."

Reference Group

The Mental Health Division established a Reference Group to make recommendations on the structures and mechanism for Service User, Family Member and Carer Engagement. The membership comprised of nine service users and four family and carer representatives.

In line with their Terms of Reference, the group worked from August 2014 to July 2015, making recommendations for promoting widespread and regular engagement and consultation with service users, family members and carers at local and national level.

These recommendations have since been approved by the National Mental Health Division Management Team for implementation.

Pending the establishment of the new engagement structures, former members of the Reference Group are continuing to assist the Division on matters relating to the implementation of the recommendations on an individual basis.

The five main areas of the Reference Group recommendations are:

  1. The role and function of the head of Mental Health Engagement as a member of the national mental health management team.
  2. The role and function of the nine Area Leads for Mental Health Engagement as members of the mental health services area management teams.
  3. Structures and mechanisms for feedback and consultation through Local and Area Forums.
  4. Training and capacity building required to support the engagement structures and roles.
  5. The role of the Mental Health Engagement Office.

This page was last updated on 15th May 2017.