Gillian Macafee, a dedicated Service User researcher, has been an integral part of the Psychosis Research Unit (PRU) since 2018, when she assumed the role of Public and Patient Involvement Lead for the EYE2 study. This groundbreaking project aimed to establish and manage Social Groups tailored for individuals experiencing first-time psychosis, with the objective of assessing whether such groups could effectively maintain engagement with mental health services among young people.
Her journey with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) commenced in 2017, initially as a volunteer Peer Mentor at Meadowbrook and later at Honeysuckle Lodge in Bolton. Gillian found immense fulfillment in her volunteer work, recognizing its mutual benefits for both herself and her peers within the mental health community.
Drawing from her personal experiences as a Service User, Gillian’s interest in psychosis was ignited following her first diagnosed psychotic episode in the early 1990s. Despite her challenges, Gillian pursued education at Salford Technical College, earning a diploma in Business Studies after achieving five GCEs. Subsequently, she dedicated two decades to raising her three daughters and two sons, now relishing the joys of grandmotherhood with eleven grandchildren and counting, cherishing the vibrant tapestry of family life.
An advocate for self-care and creative expression, Gillian finds solace in various crafting endeavors, knitting, and poetry writing. Music serves as her therapeutic anchor, seamlessly diverting intrusive thoughts and soothing her spirit. Leveraging her diverse skill set, Gillian’s professional trajectory includes a stint as a Peer Support Worker on the Let’s Talk Study, an experience she found profoundly gratifying. Presently, she lends her expertise to Motiv8, seamlessly integrating her writing prowess and peer support acumen to empower others on their mental health journeys.
Gillian Macafee exemplifies resilience, compassion, and dedication in her tireless efforts to enhance mental health services and support systems for individuals grappling with psychosis.
In her spare moments, Gillian Macafee finds joy in family gatherings, particularly relishing the company of her grandchildren. Yet, she also cherishes solitary pursuits, finding solace in writing poetry, knitting, and crafting. Gillian delights in embarking on mini trips to various corners of the UK, savoring the diversity each locale offers. However, her heart holds a special fondness for the breathtaking beauty of Cornwall, where she finds tranquility amidst its stunning landscapes.