Authors: Association of Relatives and Friends of the Emotionally and Mentally Ill (ARAFEMI) Victoria Incorporated
Event: 2003 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Finalist
Award category: Consumer or Carer Program or Service
Abstract: Since 1995, ARAFEMI has facilitated an Offspring group for adults 18 years and over whose parent/s have a mental illness. The group is based on a peer support model and provides an opportunity for group members to meet with others, share experience and deal with the impact of growing up with a parent with a mental illness. Since 1997, ARAFEMI has facilitated seven group programs which have supported a total of 50 offspring. Findings from the group have identified several demonstrable outcomes including positive changes in how group members view themselves and others, creation of problem solving and coping skills, and feeling supported and understood. In addition, group participants have reported feeling less isolated and alone as a result of meeting others in the group. Mental illness can have a profoundly disruptive effect on the lives of both consumers and carers. Consequently, family members experience their own emotional and psychological difficulties. The Offspring group aims to reduce the impact of mental illness by facilitating the discovery of new meaning and emotional well-being in a safe and supportive environment. Description of Facility/Organisation: ARAFEMI is a community managed, not-for-profit incorporated association. The voluntary Board of Governance is elected from members at the Annual General Meeting. Board members are relatives, people who have experienced mental illness and interested others. There are four office bearers, viz. President, Vice President, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary. The Board meets monthly and is ultimately responsible for all projects and financial matters of the incorporated association and participates in planning and policy initiatives.