ARAFEMI is a non-profit community based organisation, which works from a recovery perspective. It is unique as it houses both the peak support agency for carers of people with a mental illness and a broad range of consumer services.

Our mission is to promote and improve the well being of people affected by mental illness.

ARAFEMI supports a holistic approach to mental illness, where the active symptoms of illness are only one part of the difficulties encountered by people experiencing mental health problems and their families. Understanding and support from family and friends, community awareness, lessening of stigma, access to secure affordable housing, supportive assistance at a time exacerbation of symptoms all contribute to the well-being of people who experience mental illness and those who care for them.

Our range of innovative programs reflects our commitment to empowerment and collaboration for consumers and carers on the recovery journey.

Our services include:

  • Statewide support to families and carers
  • Education
  • Home based and intensive outreach supports to people living with a serious mental illness
  • Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC) program
  • Flexible Respite Options


Supporting Victorians Since 1979

ARAFEMI was first formed, by a group of concerned families who got together to share their experience and concern at how their loved ones with a mental illness were being treated within the mental health system. As in many of the emerging community and carer led action groups (often referred to as grassroots movements), the impetus for getting together was a result of ever increasing demands on carers with little or no available community supports. The de-hospitalisation and de-institutionalisation of mental health care to home based and community care led to an increasing responsibility, reliance and demand on carers to have greater levels of knowledge and expertise in supporting their loved one with a mental illness.

ARAFEMI became an incorporated body and gained funding as a ‘mutual support and self help’ (MSSH) organization which set about to support carers and develop a range of services that assist people with a mental illness. Since this time, ARAFEMI has substantially grown its range of supports to consumers providing accommodation, home based outreach, prevention and recovery care and specialist programs that work with people isolated by mental illness, homelessness and other barriers.

Securing inclusiveness in future mental health

Today ARAFEMI continues to hold carer support as a fundamental component of its many services. As the lead Statewide provider of carer support it is responsible for helping many families and carers come to terms with mental illness through its peer support and education as well as acting as an information clearing house and referral source for many Victorians. It is also actively involved in educating and up skilling the mental health workforce to better include the needs of families and carers.

Its innovation and commitment to recovery and collaboration bring its accommodation support, prevention and recovery care program and respite services to the fore across the mental health field.