Service User Engagement

19 March, 2021

Former service users and their supporters invited to join representative committee

Former service users of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) aged between 18 and 30 years, and carers and supporters of all current and former service users, are invited to join our Service User and Supporters Council (SUAS) in a callout for new members.

Established in 2005, SUAS is a voluntary committee which aims to ensure that service users receiving treatment in SPMHS and their families have a positive experience in all aspects of their care.

SUAS is currently seeking new members to assure that the views and perspectives of all service users and those who care for and support them are represented.

How does SUAS work?

How does SUAS work?

SUAS is made up of former inpatients, outpatients, and day patients who have attended programmes or services delivered by SPMHS, along with their carers and those who support them, such as family members.

The committee meets monthly during the evening of the first Wednesday of each month to accommodate those who are working. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these meetings currently take place online.

Members of SUAS are a diverse group of people who enjoy working with others and contributing ideas, while being able to hear and balance different perspectives with compassion and respect.

What does SUAS do?

SUAS hears the voices of those who attend our services and programmes, and its main focus is listening to and representing the views of service users and their carers on their therapeutic treatment, care and support.

SUAS often acts as a sounding board, with members being consulted on SPMHS policies, such as those relating to service users’ searches, dual diagnosis, or strategic plans. Members also provide feedback from a service user perceptive on documentation used within SPMHS, including consent forms, the Service User Information Booklet, and information guides such as those relating to lithium monitoring.

SUAS considers current systems and processes, with members asked to share their thoughts on new systems being introduced. As part of this, members are invited to speak to SPMHS staff about specific topics, with, in turn, staff also presenting to SUAS members, so that SUAS can gain a better understanding of the workings of particular departments or issues to see how the committee might become involved. They work to generate new ideas to improve the standard of care and to ensure that their feedback is acted upon.

In addition to this, SUAS members deliver morning lectures to current service users every six weeks. The morning lecture is an opportunity for service users to express their views about their care and treatment in an open setting.

  • Looking at SUAS' work and achievements

    SUAS has been involved in the enhancement of some current SPMHS services and the development of new ones. These include:

    • Sitting on interview panels for key SPMHS staff posts
    • Planning a service user library, family room and therapeutic garden
    • Providing feedback on the eSwift electronic records system and the Your Portal service user portal
    • Creating an online peer support service called Here 4 U as way for former service users to support each other
    • Developing an information guide for family members and supporters of service users written from the service user preceptive
    • Advocating for an Access to Recovery programme to deal with long waiting lists
    • Contributing blogs and articles for the SPMHS website, newsletters and #NoStigma campaign
    • Taking part in activities for Walk in My Shoes (WIMS), SPMHS’ flagship awareness-raising campaign, such as interviews on WIMS FM, its pop-up radio station, and WIMS Live, its week-long online programme
    • Advising on furniture and equipment purchases
    • Addressing the problems of passive smoking on inpatient hospital campuses
    • Organising an annual Christmas tree decorating party.

Why should you get involved?

Why should you get involved?

Joining SUAS enables you to have your voice heard and to work with others to make sure that the services provided by SPMHS are to the highest standard.

This callout for new members comes because we believe it is essential that as diverse and reflective representation as possible of the views and opinions of all our service users and those who care for them is used to inform how we develop our services.

How do you join SUAS?

How do you join SUAS?

You can find out more about how to join SUAS here.

If you are interested in taking part, we ask that you are available to attend our monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of each month. While these meetings currently take place remotely to best protect public health, refreshments and parking are provided when meetings take place onsite in St Patrick’s University Hospital. Members receive an honorarium payment of €30 for attending SUAS-related activities, with payment being made on a quarterly basis.

If you have any questions about the committee or taking part in it, please contact Siobhan Fitzharris, our Service User Engagement Coordinator, by calling 01 249 3390 or emailing

See more of our service user engagement and supports

See more of our service user engagement and supports

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