Reference Group Membership

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.

Members of the Reference Group and Independent Chair, Jane Clarke pictured with Anne O' Connor, National Director Mental Health Division and Gerry Maley and Catherine O' Grady, Mental Health Division

Members of the Reference Group and Independent Chair, Jane Clarke pictured with Anne O' Connor, National Director Mental Health Division and Gerry Maley and Catherine O' Grady, Mental Health Division

The membership comprises of nine service users and four family and carer representatives:

Aaron Galbraith:
Aaron is a family member who also has had personal experience of mental distress. He works in the homeless sector, in particular with people that are homeless due to chronic mental distress and/or those with problems of addiction. Aaron  works as a volunteer as part of the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) which is a youth lead advocacy service for young people who are inpatients in Willowgrove Adolescent Unit, St. Patricks Mental Health Service. 

Anne Foley:
Anne is a service user for 16 years and a Chairperson of Wexford and Waterford consumer panel for mental health. She founded her local peer support group A Better Tomorrow for people who have issues with their mental health and who require peer support. Anne is a   member of a local Advancing Recovery Ireland Group.

Anne Tiernan:
Anne is a Family Member. Her daughter has been linked with the Mental Health Services for the past six years. She has been on the Dublin South Central Advancing Recovery Ireland Steering Group and Recovery College Steering Group. She is currently co-facilitating a Family Education/Recovery Course with Shine.

Bernie Bushe:
Bernie is a Carer Family Member who is involved in Trialogue for the last four years.  She is a facilitator in a Hearing Voices community group based in Dublin City Centre.  Bernie is a strong believer in human rights and feels that our Mental Health Services are too controlling and are not listening enough  to the concerns of Service Users or Family Members.

Brian Hartnett:
Brian has personal experience of mental health difficulties. His first job in the area of mental health was with IAN as a Peer Advocate. He founded Hearing Voices Ireland (HVI) in 2006 to promote and foster acceptance of voice hearing as a valid human experience. He also lectures in third level institutions about personal experience and on his mental health work.

Colette Nolan: 
Colette has self experience of mental health difficulties and has worked in the field of Service User representation for the past 15 years.  She works with the Irish Advocacy Network, which is a service user, service run organisation and is a board member of the Mental Health Commission, Mental Health Reform and Threshold Training Network.

Joan Higgins:
Joan is a Family Member and Carer. She is a member of the Mayo consumer panel. Joan was part of a group that campaigned for Family Friendly Mental Health Services with Shine. She co facilitates the Shine Family and Recovery Course.  Joan is involved in a voluntary capacity in various groups, steering groups, advisory groups and projects, both locally and nationally with the HSE. Recently Joan has started working as a BFT (Behaviour Family Therapy) facilitator. 

John Kidney:
John has self experience of mental health difficulties. He has been active in the service user movement for the past ten years.  John assumed the role of Service User Representative on the Expert Group advising Minister Kathleen Lynch on changes to the Mental Health Act (2001)  He is currently a Service User Representative on REFOCUS  (Recovery, Experience, Forum of Carers and Users of the Service) which advises the College of Psychiatrist of Ireland (CPI) on Family and Service User issues.

Madge Fogarty: 
Madge has had personal service user experience.  She set up a Support Group to support women and their families through Postnatal Depression twenty three years ago and is therefore now a carer and supporter. She runs a Voluntary group partly funded by the HSE which runs Support Groups and also gives talks in antenatal classes in the Maternity Hospital. The Support Group provide a help line andon Post Natal Depression in Ireland called Recovering from Postnatal Depression.

Maire Duffy:
Marie is a Service User and has an interest in Service User involvement with a particular interest in youth mental health. She has been an advisor to Headstrong in the past and was part of a working group that helped bring Jigsaw to Donegal. Marie is also a mental health blogger and has a strong interest in using social media to promote mental wellbeing. 

Michael Ryan:
Michael has lived mental health and service user experience. Michael has an educational background and has been involved in promoting recovery and working with marginalised groups for a number of years. He is currently employed as a Peer Lead on the Advancing Recovery in Ireland project.

Rory Doody:
Rory has had over twenty years Service User experience and have worked within the Mental Health Services since 2009. Currently his work as a 'Recovery Development Advocate' involves working locally, regionally and nationally with service development and management e.g. Hearing Voices Steering Group, A.R.I., Peer Support, and Service Audit Committee. He works as a lecturer and course co-ordinator in U.C.C. Concurrently Rory manages his caseload with the Home Focus Team and the National Learning Network . He is also a board member of Sli Eile.